Help for young carers at Christmas
6:03am 11th December 2014
T'is the season to be jolly, but for some children in Lancashire, caring for their loved ones comes before anything else.
2BR's been speaking to some of the young carers in the county supported by Child Action North West. Each week the group meet to socialise with other youngsters in the same position, making sure they can grow up to enjoy healthy relationships and get a rare respite from their daily duties.
Roisa is 12 - she looks after her mum who struggles with her mental health and her dad who has chronic fibromyalgia meaning he's unable to move and he sleeps for much of the day. She told us Christmas isn't like you see on the films - her dad can't even pick her up to hug her.
She told us a bit about her role as a carer; "When my mum was in hosptial for a long time, it was actually a bit easier because I only had to care for my dad. But still, it was really hard because he's worse than my mum and I had to look at a list to work out when and what tablets he needed to take."
"Christmas is pretty hard because I have to put up the Christmas tree and it's fairly heavy because it's really big and I have to sort it all out. My mum always gets emotional because of her mental illness and it's upsetting with my dad because I don't get to spend much time with him on Christmas Day. He's that ill and that sore that he doesn't get much sleep so he's always asleep in the day time."
"I usually leave my mum and dad in bed on Christmas Day because they're really tired. But the bad thing is, I have to wait for them before I open my presents because they like to watch me open them. After breakfast my dad usually goes back to sleep and then me and my mum go to see some of our family. For the rest of the day we watch Christmas films."
We also spoke to Liam who's 17. He's also part of the Young Carers group at Child Action North West.
For him, Christmas is a happier time of year because his mum is on the road to recovery from her mental health issues. But he said things have been difficult in the past, "Three years ago my mum had a mental breakdown. She was in hospital for a while and it was hard at the time beause I was doing my GCSEs. With a mental illness, you always have it so even though she's getting better, I still worry because it's always there."
"Christmas is meant to be a happy time but sometimes I've felt down because one day my mum can be happy and the next she can be sad so you just have to go off how she is that day. It is sad knowing that other people can be happy as a family. But at the same time, if I see other people happy - it puts a smile on my face."
"At the time that she was really ill I thought that was it because of some of the things that were happening. So I'm just glad that she's getting there. Of course I worry about her some days but we have to take it one step at a time."
"I hope my mum carries on getting better in the New Year and what I would love to say is that if there are any other young carers out there that don't realise that they're carers - get in touch with someone. There are always other people in the same situation as you and we can bounce off each other. You're not on your own."
"Ever since I started coming to Young Carers, it's like a weight has been lifted."
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