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Project information

Durham Young Carers Therapeutic Support

To support the mental health and wellbeing of young carers in County Durham, reducing the long-term negative impact of caring for a loved one and enabling them to have happier, healthier childhoods.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Family Action

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  • Need


    Providing care for an unwell or disabled parent, sibling or other relative is known to have damaging effects on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. In research by Carers Trust, 38% of young carers surveyed reported having a mental health problem (2013). Despite this, there is little support available, with long waiting lists for young people’s mental health services and restrictive criteria leaving young carers unable to access the support they need.


    The project will provide bespoke therapeutic emotional support for children and young people accessing the Durham Young Carers service, giving them the chance to explore the emotions and frustrations that come with their caring role. As well as supporting them to deal with issues they face in the present, this support can help them build the tools and resilience to cope with issues that may arise in the future and to protect their mental health on an ongoing basis.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide therapeutic support to 12 young people over 12 months.


    » A specialist therapeutic case worker will deliver 1-2-1 sessions to young carers referred to our service who have identified mental health needs.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by completing a programme of 1-2-1 sessions with each young carer identified as in need of therapeutic support, recording attendance throughout.

    Aim 2

    Improved mental health and wellbeing for young carers accessing the service.


    » A specialist therapeutic case worker will deliver 1-2-1 sessions to young carers referred to our service who have identified mental health needs.

    What success will look like

    We will use standardised questionnaires to measure emotional health and wellbeing before and after the intervention, as well as individual case studies.

  • Impact


    The project will allow young carers to have happier, healthier childhoods by reducing the negative emotional impacts of their caring role. Supporting them to have improved wellbeing in the long term has lasting effects on other areas of their lives, such as relationships with peers, school attendance and attainment and future life chances. We work closely with families and other agencies such as schools and health services to track progress of young carers and ensure their needs have been met.


    Support provided could be unsuitable for the young people. To mitigate this, sessions will be tailored to the individual; we will work closely with young people, families, their schools and other services to ensure we fully understand their needs when they are referred. We also use recognised and proven methods of support, developed specifically for young carers and the issues they face. We plan to recruit a case worker experienced in providing therapeutic support of this nature.


    Donors can choose to receive information about how many young carers access the service over the course of the year, data regarding its impact on their mental health and wellbeing, and anonymised case studies. This will be communicated through a formal report and emails to individual donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,775 1-2-1 therapeutic support 1-2-1 therapeutic support from a qualified case worker for 12 young carers.
      £600 Clinical supervision 12 months of clinical supervision for the case worker.
      £350 Monitoring and evaluation Collecting and compiling case studies and outcomes data throughout the year.
      £275 Session resources Resources to be used during 1-2-1 sessions eg aromatherapy doughs, mindfulness journals.
  • Background


    The service is located within the Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland but works with children and families from across County Durham. Based on national figures, there are at least 10,000 children and young people in the area who provide care for a loved one and may be in need of support to manage their caring role. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CaMHS) are under strain in the area, with long waiting lists to access support and rising thresholds for young people to receive care.


    Children and young people identified as young carers who have mental health needs will benefit from this project. Our wider Durham Young Carers Service supports young carers aged 5-18, as well as working with their families and community (such as schools and local services) to reduce the impact of their caring role and increase understanding of young carers' needs. We currently work with around 100 families, with 15-20 new young carers being referred to the service every month.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Family Action supports over 45,000 families each year, empowering them to overcome challenges and build brighter futures. Through a whole-family approach our locally-based services provide emotional, practical and financial support, responding to the needs of the community. We support over 500 young carers each year in projects across England, including our Durham Service which has been running for over 5 years, consistently receiving great feedback from schools, families and young carers.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    David Brown

    David is the Durham Young Carers project manager and ensures the service provides the very best support for young carers and their families.

    Therapeutic Case Worker

    We plan to employ an experienced individual to deliver 1-2-1 therapeutic support sessions.