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Our Approach

#311 Setting Up a Young Carers Network – Mile Cross Primary School

Eileen Maceachern, SENCO, Mile Cross Primary School

What did we do?

Over the last couple of years we have established a Young Carers network at Mile Cross Primary School. Our Young Carers Group, ‘Creative Carers’ meets regularly for planned activity sessions. Outside these organised meetings, our Young Carers know that they can go to the network leads to discuss any worries or concerns. We were extremely proud to be awarded the Caring Together Carer Friendly Tick Award in June 2021.

I like the Young Carers group because it’s fun, meet up with friends, make things and enjoy time away from home. I like the support from the teachers and the activities.

It gives me something to look forward to.
It is fun and good to be yourself.
You have a trusted adult to talk to.
It is very, very, very good.
It helps Young Carers to relax.
You get lots of help in times of stress.
You get freedom.
Lessens stress.

If you are feeling depressed and anxious you have a trustworthy adult to talk to.
You have something to look forward to.
You can make new friends.
(And much more).

I am really proud to be a part of Young Carers.

Feedback from young carers and a group lead about  the Young Carers Group.

Summary of impact

Most importantly, our Young Carers themselves really value the group. They look forward to the meetings and some of our older members have reflected on how important it is to their wellbeing. Their parents are hugely appreciative too. We’ve raised the status of Young Carers in the school. Staff are aware of who are Young Carers are and why they might have been identified; there’s a much greater understanding about the issues that affect Young Carers and why it’s important to support them. We hope that the support that we’re putting in now will have a long-term impact on the future lives of our Young Carers, building their self-esteem and resilience so that they’re better able to cope with the challenges ahead.

Steps taken

Things started when one of our Mental Health Champions, Clare Matthews, attended a Young Carers awareness session through the Point 1 Link project. This made her think about the children she knew in school who had a caring role. Through the NOA Inclusion meetings, I was able to find out more about Young Carers and we realised that we needed to do more to support this group of children in school. This became part of the work I did as an EPIC (Enhanced Primary Inclusion Champion). We identified group leads from among our NOA trained ELSAs (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) – Clare, Rachel Blazer and Magda Lach (who has since left the school). We are lucky that our PSA (Parent support Advisor), Liz Howard has been instrumental in setting up and running a successful Young Carers group at the nearby Magdalen Gates Primary School. Liz and Cara (then Head Teacher) generously shared their expertise with us.

We sent out letters to every family in the school, explaining what Young Carers are and asking parents/carers to identify whether they would like their children to be part of the network. These children were invited to attend meetings, initially at lunchtimes, now after school. The most popular meetings involved art and craft activities; the name ‘Creative Carers’ was suggested by someone in the group.
Rachel designed a logo and the group gained an identity! We even got our own t-shirts printed thanks to a generous grant from Caring Together. We want our children to be proud of their caring roles, because we understand the huge challenges that they could face now and in the future.

We have about 30 children in the group now from years 1-6. They are Young Carers for a wide range of reasons. These reasons are not discussed explicitly in meetings; the children know that we know why they are carers, they know that they can talk to the adults in the group about anything, but really they just like to have the time to get together and do something that is quite ‘special’ just for them. We eat biscuits, or sometimes cake. We have a lot of fun! Children look forward to meetings and their parents are hugely appreciative.

To raise awareness about Young Carers, we created a leaflet, we’ve put information on our website (, put a noticeboard and information stand in the school atrium and all staff have attended some training. On Young Carers Action Day (16th March 2021) we displayed ‘Caring Hands for Young Carers’ around the school and in the wider community, sent a presentation out to all parents/carers and the whole school watched (recorded) assemblies about Young Carers.

We worked with a focus group of some of our older children to draft a Young Carers Agreement which sets out our ongoing commitment as a school.

What would we do differently

For us, things developed quite organically as staff attended various bits of training and developed ideas. Having a leaflet right at the start of the project might have been good so it was really clear who a Young Carer is; there was some misunderstanding among parents in the initial stages.

Maybe delivering YC awareness training to all staff at an earlier stage would also have been beneficial, again to establish that clarity about exactly why some children might be identified as Young Carers and why they need additional support.

With the restrictions caused by Covid, it’s obviously been much more difficult recently to work directly with other agencies, but we’ve had great support and advice from Belinda Jones at ‘Caring Together’. I would highly recommend attending Belinda’s training, and working towards the Tick Award standards.


The staff running the group were trained as ELSAs (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) through grant funding from the NOA and attended
specific training about Young Carers hosted by Caring Together.

Support from SLT has been crucial. Our Head Teacher, Stuart Allen, recognises how important support for Young Carers is, and has allowed us to use staff time for organization and planning and to purchase resources (craft materials, refreshments etc) from school funds.

Staff are generous with their own time too, staying after school for meetings and preparing resources in the evenings. This project was inspired by two of our school’s teaching assistants, Clare and Rachel. Their enthusiasm and commitment is at the heart of our Young Carers network.

Resources to do something similar yourself

Read our Young Carers Parent leaflet:

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Eileen Maceachern, SENCO

Mile Cross Primary School, Brasier Road

Norwich, Norfolk