What follows is the text of a speech I gave in a debate about Young Carers at the recent Lib Dem Party Conference. You can find how it was delivered on YouTube if you are especially interested. However, the main reason for viewing the YouTube video is to listen to the testimony of the young carers that spoke in the debate. I was humbled by their accounts of experiences that most of us would find challenging as adults, let alone as children.
As a Councillor you are invited to lots of different events. This summer I witnessed a group of young people taking part in the National Citizen Service programme champion the needs of young carers. This is an important motion about an often overlooked group in society. A group that has been hit by the cuts to local government and to schools and especially the social care budgets..
We need to ensure that both academy chains and other schools have plans in place to help young carers and not to treat them as a nuisance. I call on Layla Moran as our Education spokesperson to further the needs of this group of pupils to ensure that their education is not endangered. Please ask schools to support and encourage, not complain and punish young carers for being inconvenient to school procedures.
I was only a young carer for a short period before going to university when my grandmother came out of hospital. That was many years ago and for a short period of time. Now for many young carers it is for years and is also a challenge to their education.
This motion recognises their needs. I would also say to university admissions tutors, including those in the 2 universities in Oxford where I am a councillor, please interview anyone that tells you they are a carer. Their grades may not represent their ability. The same is true for employers: make young carers feel valued.
I hope everyone will fully support this motion.
They did, and it was passed. You can find the text of the motion at: https://www.libdems.org.uk/a19-young-carers