Returning Stolen Childhoods
Five year old Wallis wakes up several times a night to go and check his parents who both suffer from alcoholism, are still alive and OK. The resulting tiredness means he struggles to concentrate the next day and so he’s falling behind at school. Seven year old Catherine’s mother is paralysed and so the cleaning, cooking and care of both her mother and younger sister falls on Catherine’s young shoulders, starting with a 6am alarm call.
The latest ONS figures conservatively estimate that there are a quarter of a million young carers in the UK taking care of parents, grandparents or siblings. The real figure is likely to be much, much higher as children and their parents are often reluctant to reveal their caring responsibilities. The reluctance is hardly surprising given the higher likelihood of being on the receiving end of bullying that young carers experience.
Research by the Children’s Society indicates 1 in 12 of these young carers are spending more than 15 hours a week taking care of a family member. The burden of this responsibility as well as being exhausting also brings tangible issues that affect the future life chances of these children:
- Their families have an annual income that is £5k less than the average.
- 1 in 20 will miss school because of their caring responsibilities.
- They are 50% more likely to have a special educational need or suffer from an illness.
- Unsurprisingly, young carers achieve 9 grades lower in their GCSEs overall.
Perhaps more sadly is the theft of their one chance of a childhood – the one time in life that should be fun filled and carefree. Thankfully, The Honeypot Children’s Charity exists to give Wallis, Catherine and many other 5-12 year old young carers some much needed support and respite by taking them for breaks at one of their outreach centres. Here the children can temporarily shake off their responsibilities for a weekend and enjoy normal childhood activities often for the first time. For example, Wallis was taken to the beach on his first break at their New Forest centre and was in tears building a sandcastle. It was his first experience of a beach and he had always thought it was a made up place that only existed in storybooks. Experiences like this are invaluable for enriching the life of a child like Wallis.
Buy One, Give One…
Here at Scrubbington’s we are long-term supporters of Honeypot and with your help this Christmas, we would like to extend our support by supplying them with some much needed children’s personal care products both for use in their centres and as gifts for their special guests. It’s really very simple, for every product bought in December in Waitrose, Wholefoods or via our online shop http://shop.scrubbingtons.com/collections/all we will be sending one straight to Honeypot.