City Council makes commitment to young carers

Members of Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Commissioning Committee have today (Thursday 13 September) committed more than half a million pounds to commission a Young Carers Service and set up a Young Carers grant scheme.

Given that most young carers in Aberdeen are not known to the social work service, nor would they meet the eligibility criteria for a social work service, officers recommended that it is not appropriate for this service to be delivered in-house. Referrals to the service need to be accessible to universal services and other relevant professionals such as school nurse, health visitor, or community worker.

The committee instructed the Chief Officer for Integrated Children and Family Services, following consultation with the Head of Commercial and Procurement Services, to undertake a procurement process to appoint a supplier of a service to Young Carers, who do not meet the eligibility for a social work service.

It was also agreed that through delegated authority the Chief Officer for Integrated Children and Family Services, following consultation with the Chief Finance Officer, set up a Young Carers Grant programme, with £25,000 available each financial year until 2023, which would enable the Young Carers Service to apply for a grant on behalf of a young person and / or their family, and to set the criteria for awarding the funds from the Young Carers Grant Programme.

On 01 April 2018, the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 came into effect, which extends and enhances the rights of Carers in Scotland to help improve their health and wellbeing so that they can continue to care and have a life alongside caring.

The Act places a duty on local authorities and health boards to prepare and publish a local Carers Strategy, covering both adults and young people. In Aberdeen, staff and representatives from a range of agencies but, in particularly the City Council and the Integrated Joint Board have been involved in developing the Aberdeen City Carers Strategy.

The strategy was developed in consultation with young people including some young carers. This highlighted that young carers often experience a range of conflicting emotions: from depression, worry and loneliness; to feeling of happiness and pride that the they can support a loved one. They often do not know where to turn to get support.

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, convener of Strategic Commissioning Committee, said: “Young carers are a very important group whose needs require to be recognised and met, and I am pleased the Committee has agreed to invest more than half a million pounds to commission this service.

“Easy access to support and advice is paramount, and because most young carers are not known to the Council’s social work services we need a service which is universally accessible by all relevant professionals, who are in contact with the young carers.

“Through partnership working we want to ensure that our young carers know that they are valued, and that we will continue to seek their views in driving forward implementation of Aberdeen City Carers strategy.”