Young Carers

Are you a young carer or do you know someone who is?

A young carer is anyone aged 5-18 years, who has practical and emotional caring responsibilities because someone in their family is disabled, elderly, has a long term illness, a mental health condition, developmental disorder or issues with substance misuse.

If you are a young carer wanting to join the Young Carer Service please complete this form online

To refer a child or young person you can complete a referral form online, download and email interactive pdf or print and post

How we support young carers:

  • Weekly groups – an opportunity to meet other young carers and take part in activities together
  • Individual support – someone to talk to who will listen and provide support
  • Day trips and residentials – a chance to have a break from caring, visit new places
    and enjoy time with other young carers
  • Young Carer Statements – to help others understand the caring role and to create a plan of support
  • Schools work – raising awareness in schools to help identify and support young carers with their education and transitions to new schools
  • Life skills – an opportunity to learn skills to help with caring roles like first aid, healthy eating and fire safety
  • Information and advice – for families to get support from local agencies
  • Advocacy support – to help young carers have their say in decisions that affect them and their families

For More Information

General enquiries:

Schools Project Worker:
Shona James 074716694535 or

Young Carers Support Workers:
Kirsty Shinton 07766131736 or

What are some of the things a young carer might do?

We know that young carers do not always think of themselves as carers but it is important that they are recognised and have access to the support they need. It is estimated that there are about 5,000 young carers in Edinburgh. Most of them are not recognised as carers and remain hidden. We would like to see them getting the support they need.

Some young carers say that their caring role means they feel:
– Tired
– Worried
– No-one understands their situation
– Alone
– They don’t get enough time with friends
– They have no time to relax
– Bullied
– There is not enough time for homework
– Frustrated
– They are not sure who to trust
– It is difficult to get to school on time
– It is hard to concentrate at school
– Stressed

Our Work in Schools

We work with school staff and pupils to help identify and raise awareness about young carers.

There are likely to be young carers in every school. Many children and young people with caring responsibilities aren’t known to their schools or colleges and don’t see themselves as being young carers or feel too worried or embarrassed to ask for help.

Often young carers don’t get identified until a crisis. The sooner we can find out someone is a young carer, the more support can be put in place to help keep them safe, well and able to attend and achieve their best. Lots of people will have had an increase to their caring role due to the pandemic too, because they won’t have had their usual support or breaks at school/college or with friends. Some children and young people may also have become carers as a result of the pandemic, due to increases in ill health and substance misuse, and lack of access to services and support.

School staff have a key role in identifying and supporting young carers. To meet the needs of young carers in school, it is vital that all school staff understand why young carers need support to enjoy and achieve at school, and the simple things they can do to raise the attendance, attainment and wellbeing of these pupils as part of their wider roles within the school.

Find out more here

39% of young carers said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role
“I miss school a lot because I worry about my mum and can’t think in class.”

Young Carer Services in Edinburgh

There are three young carer services in Edinburgh. We work together across the whole of Edinburgh and each service covers a different geographic area, please see the map:
SPACE is responsible for South West Edinburgh including Pentlands and South West.
Capital Carers is responsible for North West Edinburgh including Almond, Forth, Inverleith and Western.
Edinburgh Young Carers is responsible for North East and South East Edinburgh Localities including Leith, City Centre, Craigentinny, Duddingston, Portobello, Craigmillar, South Central, Liberton and Gilmerton.

Find out more about our young carers in this video:

“We Care, Do you?” Young Carers Edinburgh A film with testimonies from our young carers about looking after family members as they celebrate the launch of the new Carers Act.

Our young carers project is supported with funding from The Robertson Trust, BBC Children In Need and Edinburgh City Council