Shadow minister for disabled joins debate with young carers

Jeremy Hunt MP meets LBHF's caring children and teenagers

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The Shadow Minister for Disabled People Jeremy Hunt MP made an unprecedented visit to the Hammersmith & Fulham Carers' Centre on June 14 where he met dozens of young carers.

The MP who has a special interest in carers' issues heard from children and teens just how challenging caring can be. Key messages relating to the issues young carers face were presented to the MP during a Q&A session.

Jeremy Hunt MP explains, "In my opinion, carers need more of a voice and it is my pleasure to meet these young people to hear what they have to say. Thousands of people provide a high level of intimate or personal care and selflessly dedicate their lives without any financial remuneration. As I go about my job as Shadow Minister for Disabled People I want to ensure the work of carers is recognised at every level and that they receive the support they deserve."

The Hammersmith & Fulham Carers' Centre, which is a member of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, is a regular contributor to Government consultations on social and out-of-hospital care and helps to provide a much-needed advocacy for young carers who can sometimes feel they have no voice.

Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh, Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, said, "These young carers do a wonderful job. They care for their parents or other relatives in a completely selfless way. We're committed to making sure we provide as much support as we can to help them care for their loved ones."

The centre supports carers who are looking after a relative, friend or neighbour. Carers can get advice, information and support at the centre as well as enjoying social events like day trips and residentials.

13 year old carer Hayley McKinnon, who looks after her mum, said, "The atmosphere here is really friendly and I went on my first trip out of London last year, it was a really nice break."

Georgina Britnell, 16, said, "I look after my mum who has epilepsy and its great to come here once a week and get help with homework and see my friends. We've been on loads of fun activities like canoeing and abseiling."

The Hammersmith & Fulham Carers' Centre is in touch with about 600 carers although statistically there are approximately 11,000 in the borough.

Daniel Meekings, 13, who cares after his profoundly deaf sister, says, "I love coming here as we get support and help with homework. It was good of the MP and leader of the council to visit us as it's a really good centre and the staff here are great!"

June 16, 2006