Care, Work, Sleep, Repeat

Episodes

First
Broadcast
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20141010

For twenty-one year old David Matthews, life is a never-ending cycle. He cares for his Mum who suffers from back problems and chronic depression. He cooks, he cleans, does the shopping and provides emotional support. He's helped her out of the bath and found her after she attempted suicide. He does all this whilst holding down a job. Like hundreds and thousands of other young carers, the support he received largely disappeared when he turned eighteen and he just had to get on with it.

Dave Howard finds out what it's like to be a young adult carer and asks if there's enough support for this group who are balancing their caring responsibilities with work or further education. He meets Carina Andrews who set-up EighteenPlus for carers like her who found that the coffee mornings and scrabble games available through adult services didn't really appeal. He visits an event at the University of Nottingham organised by Carers Trust to find out about the challenges faced by young adult carers as they decide whether they can go to University. One young woman definitely wants to go, but isn't sure whether she can do that and keep her Mum alive. Professor Saul Becker estimates that there are a quarter of a million of young adult carers, and says more needs to be done in schools, universities and across Government to recognise the growing needs of this invisible army.

Norman Lamb MP explains how the Care Act, which comes into force in April 2015 might help the situation, but knows that more can be done.

Producer: Toby Field.