Appeal for volunteers to offer transport for West Sussex’s young carers

Volunteers who help transport carers (photo submitted). SUS-150924-152753001
Volunteers who help transport carers (photo submitted). SUS-150924-152753001
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An appeal has been launched for volunteers who can help provide transport for young carers one evening each week.

A young carer is someone who may have taken on responsibilities because a family member has a disability, has been ill for a long time, experiences mental health difficulties, or has a problem linked to drugs or alcohol.

Engaging in social activities and meeting other young carers can offer a valuable outlet, allowing them to have a break from their caring role, build self-esteem, make friends and try new things.

Julie Baldwin, who volunteers around three hours every Monday evening, said: “The young people I transport live in quite an isolated area and there is no way they could get to the youth club without private transport.

“When they get in the car they often want to talk and talk - about anything and everything - so they clearly need an outlet and I’m happy to listen.”

One parent whose child has benefited from the volunteering scheme added: “I’m disabled and can’t drive so having this service helps my son to leave the house and have time for himself.”

Peter Evans. WSCC’s cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “For a young carer, juggling their responsibilities alongside their studies can greatly affect their school attendance, achievements and future prospects.

“Getting out and about to social activities and groups can become problematic, because a young carer is unable to just rely on a lift from their parents.

“Thanks to our transport volunteers, young carers can take a break from the responsibilities they have at home and mixing with other young carers once a week can make a big difference, particularly to their self-confidence.”

If you think you could help a young carer and would like further information call 01903 270300 or email youngcarers@westsussex.gov.uk

The closing date for applications is Monday October 19.

Volunteers must have a full driving licence and their own fully-insured car.

They will need good communication skills and must be sensitive to the needs of young carers.

They also require a criminal records check with the Disclosure and Barring Service, and must provide two references.

Full training is provided, while travel costs and agreed out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.

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