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Airing Pain 66: Not a Burden

The challenges facing young people in caring roles and ways to support them

This edition is funded by a grant from the Dorothy Howard Charitable Trust.

Friends don’t always understand, they don’t get out much and they’re faced with daunting responsibilities, but they wouldn’t change a thing about their families. So say the young people Paul Evans meets at a support day for carers in south east Wales.

There are 178,000 young carers in England and Wales doing unpaid work for parents too ill to perform essential household tasks or even look after themselves. Kerris Olsen-Jones, who works to support these children and young people – some as young as five years old – says that they sometimes ‘miss the opportunity to be children’. She and her colleagues help the young people to socialise and make the most of the opportunities available to them.

However, many young carers do not see themselves as carers, so may not get access to support. Ethan Mason, who cares for his mother who has fibromyalgia, describes how as an adolescent he had to deal with a house fire alone, while fire safety officer Julie Goodfield gives fire prevention tips for people with disabilities and their carers.


  • Adrian, Amy, Courtney, Emma, Ethan, Leon, Sophie, Tom, young carers
  • Kerris OIsen-Jones, Young Adult Carer Development Worker
  • DJ, Young Adult Carer Support Worker
  • Julie Goodfield, Fire Safety Officer.

More information:

  • More information on support for young carers can be found at
  • Visit our resources on Families and Children to listen to more Airing Pain programmes on this topic and find out more about the help available across the UK.


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