Move on Up and Young Carers Action Day 2023
Lois Gallagher, Move on Up Housing and Support Manager, reflects on the theme for this year’s young carers action day: ‘make time for young carers’. Move on Up is a property-based pilot project, in partnership with Quaker Social Action and Commonweal Housing, providing housing alongside empathetic and specialist support for young adult carers. This blog was originally posted on Quaker Social Action’s website.
It’s Young Carers Action Day, an annual event organised by the Carers Trust. This year the theme is “Make time for young carers”. We wanted to take the opportunity to talk about how Move on Up makes time for young adult carers.
Move on Up is a Quaker Social Action (QSA) project in partnership with Commonweal Housing that provides supported housing to young adult carers aged 18-25. Our participants provide or have provided informal, unpaid care to a family member, most often a parent, who has a disability, a physical illness, a mental illness or a substance addiction (sometimes several of these alongside each other
Missing opportunities to achieve independence
Many young adult carers don’t have the time, energy or resources to achieve the independence that is typically sought after by young adults. This is because they may be very committed to their caring role, and it takes up a lot of their time. Also, if they have been doing unpaid care for a family member for several years, they may have missed out on opportunities such as gaining good school qualifications, developing their social networks, and starting out in the workplace. Plus, they very often struggle with mental health challenges that make motivation and achievement harder to come by.
Move on Up enables young adult carers to take back some of the opportunities that they have missed, and to embark on new ones: primarily, the opportunity to live independently from their family of origin, for affordable rent; by extension, to improve their health and wellbeing, re-enter education, or gain a job.
One of our clients is Gabor*, who came to Move on Up after being a young carer and young adult carer for his mum for many years. He was struggling with his mental health as a result of high stress levels at home and trying to balance his caring with a part-time job. In addition, he has been a main carer for his two younger siblings.
Gabor now lives in a shared flat with two other young adult carers. He can still travel to the family home easily but gets to have his own space. He has discovered that he can have a more separate and autonomous life than the one he had before, even at an emotional level:
“I’ve learned that I don’t have to feel down and stressed every time my mum feels down and stressed. with my own space, I can recover enough to still be a help to her when she needs me.” – Move on Up resident
Gabor has increased his working hours, gaining a better salary, and spends more time with friends now. He has had support for his mental health, both from Move on Up and NHS services. He is planning to make use of Move on Up’s financial move-on grant when he moves on to a new home later this year – reducing the stress of trying to find enough money for the hefty deposit typical of the private rented sector.
Move on Up is coming to its scheduled end this year after a seven-year pilot run, and at Quaker Social Action we are working alongside Commonweal to raise awareness of the housing needs of young adult carers across the carers, housing and public service sectors, so that more young adult carers can have the opportunity to make time for themselves and move forward with their lives.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.