Current Students and Staff

// University News

29 Jan 2019

New book aims to raise awareness of the issues experienced by young carers

A new illustrated book for children, families and teachers based on research with young carers tells the story of Carly who cares for her disabled mum – a situation faced by thousands of young people across Britain.

Author Professor Jo Aldridge, of Loughborough University’s School of Social Sciences, has written the narrative from the 12-year-old youngster’s perspective.

The story is particularly relevant on Thursday (Jan 31), when the Carers Trust marks Young Carers Day.

In the book, Can I Tell You About Being a Young Carer?, Carly – a fictional character – shares her feelings about her caring role, her school and social life and her relationship with her mum.

She describes what it is like to be a young carer:

“I don’t always tell others either about Mum and about what I do to help her and Sam around the house.

"My best friend Hannah knows because she lives just down the road and she’s been to my house. And because I trust her and know she won’t tell anyone else if I don’t want her to.

“When Mum is not feeling well and is sad I try to cheer her up by helping around the house, playing with Sam and telling her jokes and stories to try and make her laugh.”

The book is based on research with young carers and their families that Prof Aldridge has conducted over a number of years at Loughborough University.

She said: “The book was written for children, families and professionals, such as teachers and social workers and is intended to raise awareness about young carers and the challenges they and their families face.

“It will help children and families understand what young caring is and what support services are available to prevent children taking on inappropriate caring roles.

“It is also about parental illness and disability and positive parent-child relationships in families affected by illness or disability.”

Chapters include:

  • Why do I care for my mum?
  • How does caring make me feel?
  • What are my worries and concerns as a young carer?
  • How does caring affect my relationships with my family and friends?

Prof Aldridge’s most recent study of young carers, The Lives of Young Carers in England (2014-2016), was conducted for the Department for Education, with Kantar Public.

The book is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and is available on Amazon.