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Monday, 12 June 2017

Campaign launched to ensure young carers in Scotland are claiming allowance

Written by The Press Association

A new campaign has been launched to ensure Scotland's young carers can get the help they are entitled to in a bid to save them from the added worry of money pressures.

The Scottish Government is using social media to reach out to those aged 16 to 24 who care for a loved one but are not claiming Carer's Allowance.

Social Security Minister Jeanne Freeman said the initiative is needed as "the UK benefit system continues to fail in making sure that all those entitled to support know that they are and know how to get it".

She added: "Young adult carers in particular are in that group and should not have the added worry of financial pressures along with their caring responsibilities."

An estimated 49,000 Scots aged between 16 and 24 are carers, but only around 3,900 people in this age group are currently receiving Carer's Allowance.

The new campaign will use Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach young people.

As it was launched, Ms Freeman praised the "immense contribution" carers make to society, adding: "Their dedication and commitment to caring for loved ones - often making significant personal sacrifices to do so - deserves our thanks and respect.

"That is why this Government is committed to doing all we can to help carers. Whether it is strengthening the rights of carers through legislation, committing to increasing the Carer's Allowance with our new social security powers, or working with our partners to raise awareness with carers of how they can access the support they're entitled to."

Ministers are teaming up with the Young Scot organisation for the campaign, and its chief executive Louise Macdonald said: "Young adult carers provide a huge amount of support to their loved ones.

"We have been lucky enough to work with some of these inspirational young people here at Young Scot and from hearing about their experiences, it's essential we do everything we can to make them aware of the support available to them."

Lauren Baigrie (pictured, front), 18, a young carer from Falkirk, said: "Being a young carer isn't always an everyday thing. My mum has good days and bad days and days in between. Some days my mum relies on me a lot, other days she doesn't need me at all. It's always been like that, ever since I can remember.

"Being a young carer has at times been tough, it's impacted my life in many ways, I'm really good at organising my time but sometimes try to fit too much into it, I've learned to be independent but have sometimes missed out on normal time with my mum, I manage money well and I am really switched on to current affairs.

"My social life has been restricted but I think I'm making real efforts to change that. Being a carer for me is part of who I am, it's part of my identity and I wouldn't change it."

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