What is the initiative?
Who runs it?
Who does it benefit?
Young carers (aged 18 and under) throughout the UK. The core age of users is 14 to 17 years old, with carers as young as seven accessing the site.
What does it do?
The website acts as a virtual youth club where young carers can come together, relax, chat and access support and advice from workers and each other. Discussion boards and regular chat rooms allow young carers to access peer support, while moderation, email support, an Agony Aunt column and one-to-one chats with online support workers provide solid emotional support.
When did it start?
Why was it started?
The website was originally envisioned as an information resource with minimal chat facilities. The interactive, social element quickly became the most popular feature, and workers were hired to offer support and moderation.
What are the aims and objectives?
- To provide an online community where young carers can receive support and advice from each other and trained workers
How is it funded?
The funding is provided by general monies from Carers Trust, with additional funds from other charitable trusts.
What has it achieved?
The site has a large pool of regular users, one of whom has been accessing the service for five years. New carers join on a regular basis, with most users accessing the site at least twice a week for an average of three years.
The email support service has an even wider reach as it often attracts messages from carers who do not participate in the discussion boards.
Carers using the site have been very vocal in giving positive feedback, so it is clear that the support provided has had a beneficial effect on the lives of many young carers.
The site has helped to meet the needs of hidden young carers who are unable to access local services or who do not wish to do so, providing support and linking them to other services when appropriate.
Setting up a project like this?