Gordon has met with support workers and young carers from Blackpool Carers Centre to discuss more support for them in the schools and colleges they attend.
New research from Nottingham University working with the BBC revealed the number of young people between the ages of 11-16 who act as carers has more than doubled since a comparable BBC survey in 2010.
Gordon discussed these nationwide findings with Michaela Goodridge and Sam Kirkbride from the Blackpool Carers Centre, alongside two local young carers Catlin Churchill and Clare Taylor, who had written to Gordon over the summer , with their personal experiences of caring for parents , as well as ideas to give young carers more support in the classroom.
He said: “It was hugely valuable to,discuss the challenges young carers here are facing where the number of them accessing Blackpool Carers’ Centre services has rocketed from 361 in 2016 to 1098 now, a three fold increase over that time. That need has always been there , given the particular factors in and around Blackpool producing that situation – when I first talked to the local Trust about their young Carers initiatives almost a decade ago they talked about figures of around a thousand.
“The good news is that expansion of the Trust’s activities since then has meant that more young people have been able to get a range of tailored support , and that Blackpool Carers has a strong working relationship with the Council, who are providing a quarter of the budget for their young Carers project , alongside other Lottery and third sector funding and the terrific fundraising and support being given from local people and businesses , which I’ve also been pleased to support – and demonstrated by their terrific new Beaverbrooks House where I was at their Open Day just this summer.
“These new national findings though show just how this issue is growing and must be a wake up call for all of us , including the Government to give more support and attention to young people who week by week take on the responsibilities of adults for parents and family. Many of them as I heard in our meeting , don’t always even recognise the huge role they are taking on – it’s just helping their mums or dads’
“It was good to hear Catlin and Clare’s personal experience as young carers which reflected this. it needs to be recognised though that young carers need adequate support to deal with the pressures their caring puts them under – and that especially includes greater awareness in the schools and colleges they attend of those needs.
“That’s why I welcome the Mental Health project launched by the Blackpool Carers’Centre for young carers this spring. There have already been workshops on this and I discussed with them how to involve Blackpool schools and colleges in this project as it is rolled out.
“I will be liaising with Children’s Services at Blackpool Council about how this is taken forward and I will be writing to Ministers when Parliament resumes ( after the recess for Party Conferences) to ask what additional resources they are going to give for young carers nationally , given our experiences in Blackpool and the stark demonstration of need which has just come from this new research from Nottingham University , highlighted by the BBC.”