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Children as young as five providing care for loved ones in Lincolnshire

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: May 25, 2014

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More than 1,800 children, many as young as five, are providing unpaid care in Lincolnshire - the highest figure across the East Midlands.

The latest survey from The Children's Society revealed that 163 of those under-16s are providing more than 50 hours of unpaid care for parents or loved ones each week.

Children's Society chief executive Matthew Reed claims youngsters have their lives "turned upside down" as a result. A scheme to provide support for young carers in schools is being launched.

Mr Reed said: "An alarming amount of young carers are juggling school work and looking after their loved ones.

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"We care passionately about their welfare and exposing the scale of the issue is simply not enough.

"That is why we are working with schools to improve the support these young carers get so that it is consistent across the country. One young carer slipping under the radar is one young carer too many."

The Young Carers in Schools Programme will provide education staff with resources and training to make sure young carers get vital support.

Thea Stein, chief executive of Carers Trust, said: "This programme will help schools to stop and think about how taking on the responsibilities of caring impacts on every aspect of a young carer's life.

"We will be working with schools to ensure they have the guidance, resources and training they need to support young carers."

There are 11,999 children and young people in the East Midlands providing unpaid care for their families.

The Children's Society and Carers Trust have worked alongside other charities to help youngsters in classrooms up and down the country.

The study shows young carers are lagging behind in school and missing out on their childhoods because of the demands placed on them.

One in 20 young carers misses school because of the amount of support they have to provide at home.

They also have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level and a quarter of young carers are bullied because of their caring role.

Schools can apply for a bronze, silver and gold Young Carers in Schools Award, as part of the programme.

Schools and local authorities interested in taking part should visit youngcarer. com/ycinschools

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