Coleg Gwent achieves Carer Friendly accreditation

12 April 2022

In 2020, Coleg Gwent was awarded the Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) accredited status in recognition of going the extra mile to look after our young carers at college. Now, we’re proud to announce that we’ve also been granted Carer Friendly accreditation for our ongoing work to support our community of young carers.

Many carers don’t identify themselves as a carer because they feel they’re just doing what’s expected of them. But a young carer is anyone under the age of 18 who looks after a relative with a disability, mental health condition, illness, or drug/alcohol problem, while a young adult carer is someone between the ages of 18-24 who provides care. This care can range from cooking, cleaning and caring for siblings, to helping their relative wash, dress and manage medication.

Caring for a relative is a huge responsibility, which can cause a young carer to feel stressed, tired and isolated. Despite their caring commitments at home, young carers are entitled to continue with their education – it’s an essential aspect of their wellbeing. But being a carer can impact on college work as you might not have sufficient time to do homework and may even miss classes as a result of your role as a carer. But we’re here to support you and help you reach your potential at Coleg Gwent.

How Coleg Gwent supports young carers

We’re committed to supporting young carers to access education, so that your caring responsibilities don’t get in the way of planning for your future. The educational achievement and development of young carers can be significantly affected without support, and we know that the pandemic may have placed additional pressure on our young carers, having a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing. But we offer space to check in, listen to your experiences, and offer support that can help you move forward.

Your personal tutor is someone you can speak to about anything you need help and support with inside and outside of college. So, if you’re a young carer, you can let your personal tutor know about your caring responsibilities if you haven’t already told us at enrolment. Your personal tutor can then work with the Campus Carers’ Lead to identify a member of support staff who can help you.

There are lots of ways we can help you as a young carer:

  • Adjusting timetables (if you need to arrive late or leave early) so that attendance doesn’t impact on Education Maintenance Allowance
  • Sign-posting to funding to allow you to go on trips or take part in extra-curricular activities
  • Allowing time out and letting you use a quiet space
  • Making time to check-in with you privately about what is happening at home
  • Arranging a buddy to take/share notes when you’re late or have to leave early
  • Extending deadlines when you have to give more help to the person you care for
  • Helping parents to travel to parents’ evenings if they have trouble leaving the house
  • Directing you to homework clubs to catch up on any work missed
  • Arranging out of class support (Inspire, personal coach, counsellor, young carer external services)
  • Allowing you to use a phone during breaks and lunchtime so you can check on the person you’re looking after
  • The college has a good working relationship with Barnardo’s Young Carer service who have identified young carers coming into college. Barnardo’s offer drop-in sessions once a month for young carers at the college and meets with them individually too.

All of this additional help and support improves the wellbeing and self-worth of young carers, while also supporting their attendance at college and the achievement of good grades. This is vital for young carers, and as a college, we’re proud to be helping to reduce the educational gap for the young carers by giving further opportunities to go onto higher education and gain employment.

Find out more about the support we offer young carers and all learners at Coleg Gwent.