Research conducted by Commonweal Housing and Quaker Social Action and confirmed by the Carers Trust showed that there was no specific housing provision for young carers.
The research indicated that a shared housing solution may provide young tenants with a level of independence and support simultaneously, to encourage better outcomes in terms of wellbeing, education and employment.
The Housing Solution
Run across four properties in East London, Move On Up provides shared housing for young adult carers aged between 18 – 24 years. The model focuses on providing accommodation as well as up to 24 months’ individual support depending on their individual wellbeing needs.
Move On Up is all about choice. The project aims to give the young people the support they need to make an informed decision about their future. Whilst many Commonweal projects see a positive outcome as a linear move on from current residence, Move On Up recognises that there are cases where a young person may want to return to the family home. What is important is that they have the choice as to whether they do so or not.
The final evaluation of the project, conducted by the Learning and Work Institute (2020), found that the project is filling a crucial gap in support provision for young adult carers and had a range of positive impacts on residents. These included providing respite from caring, improved relationships with family members and improved outcomes in learning and employment. Read more about the benefits of Move On Up >>>
One young carer taking part in the project said: “I started caring for my mother when I was three years old, but I didn’t realise I was a carer until I was around twelve years old when the social worker to my mother put me in touch with the young carers project.
"The impact of being a carer on my personal life whilst I was younger was high; I lost a lot of school friends and it also had an impact on my school. This was because mum was always sick or unable to do things herself. Due to this I had to look after her at home and do the things that she could not do. This ranged from cooking and cleaning to keeping on top of her personal hygiene and dressing her. As I got older this got harder and happened a lot more often.
"Because of my caring role my school grades suffered – I know they could have been a lot better than they were. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the person you care for that the reason your grades are bad is because of them, so we have to lie to them so they do not feel so bad. When I was kicked out of university because of bad grades, I had to lie to mum. I failed due to looking after mum and the family on a full-time basis.
"When I was in school I had no help from the staff at all. They had the attitude that I should leave the caring for somebody else; they also said that it was not their problem as I was old enough to stand on my own two feet and say I don’t want to care for my family. If I had had even a little support from school or the university I would have been happy, but I didn’t.
"The first time I really received any help was when I joined the young carers and the young adult carers project. I received help and support from the staff and also the other carers. Because of this I became very close with some of the other carers and we became the best of friends; we are always there to help each other in any way we can.”
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