Summer Holiday Activities for Young Carers Help to Reduce Stress and Loneliness

More than eight out of ten young carers feel lonely during the school summer holidays, according to survey data released this month by the national charity Carers Trust*.

They also found that 35% of young carers surveyed don’t look forward to the summer break and 86% feel more stressed or worried during the holiday than during term-time.

While the summer holidays are a carefree time for many young people, over a quarter of young carers surveyed said they would be spending over 10 hours on a typical day over the summer caring for family members.

Lindsey Clay is Young Carers Team Leader at Carer Support Wiltshire, a charity that support carers of all ages in the county. She says:

“When we think of the school summer holidays, we imagine children looking forward to weeks of free time; maybe going to the beach and getting to spend quality time with friends and family doing the things they enjoy. That sadly isn’t the reality for all young people, and young carers can struggle without the respite from caring for someone at home that school offers.  “We know that providing activities for young carers, as well as opportunities for them to meet other young carers and talk to trusted adults, can help to alleviate the loneliness and pressure they may be facing. We’re happy to be offering a range of activities to young carers over the summer break and young carers can also access 1-2-1 support from our specialist support staff.”

Ellie helps to care for her sister Lilly who is autistic and has ADHD. When Lilly is having a meltdown, Ellie is her first port of call. Without Ellie’s support Lilly can become distressed and self harm. Ellie recently left Hardenhuish School in Chippenham and is now working as an apprentice chef. When she was at the school she helped to establish weekly young carer drop-in sessions, which continue today.

Ellie says: “For most people home time from school is chill time, but that isn’t always the case for young carers. If my sister had a bad day at school and was having a meltdown I would need to help. I couldn’t always hand homework in on time. Sometimes I would need to take a phone call from home during lesson time.

“I had some very supportive teachers at school, but being a young carer weren’t talked as much as an issue like bullying is. When I was in Year 11, with the school’s support, I started running a weekly club where young carers could meet. I also started to receive 1-2-1 support from Rachel, one of the young carer support workers at Carer Support Wiltshire, and she is always messaging me to see how I am.”

Full details of the young carer activities taking place over the summer holidays can be found on Carer Support Wiltshire’s website at They include Wiltshire Wildlife Trust wild days out, young adult carer cafes, cookery workshops and creative writing workshops.

In addition, funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a partnership with Salisbury Museum and Cardiff University will give ten young carers the opportunity to take part in an archaeological dig for a day in August, joining a team of professional archaeologists to excavate a Roman settlement site in Teffont Evias, possibly relating to a nearby Roman shrine.

Carer Support Wiltshire is a charity that is part funded by Wiltshire Council and Bath and NE Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board to support carers of all ages.

Registered young carers receive a quarterly magazine and can access activities throughout the year, as well as 1-2-1 support from a young carer worker if needed. For young adult carers (aged 16-25yrs) there are also monthly cafes where they can meet other carers and share peer-to-peer support.

If you are a parent who thinks their child could be a young carer and needs a bit of extra support you can talk to a teacher at your child’s school or your GP and ask them to make a referral to the Wiltshire Council Families and Children’s Team.

You and your child can now also self refer for an assessment using the Integrated Front Door on 0300 4560108 or [email protected]. Those aged 16+ can contact Carer Support Wiltshire directly for support on 0800 181 4118.