Scotland’s young carer mascots Eryc and Trayc took a trip to the Scottish Parliament recently and met Angus North and Mearns MSP Nigel Don. The cartoon characters front up the Princess Royal Trust for Carers’ campaign to spread understanding of the vital role many children play in caring for their close relatives.
Nigel Don said: “Families look after each other, and usually that job is done by adults. But when the adults themselves are disabled or unwell, children become the carers. They have to grow up fast, and while their friends are on their X Boxes, they’re doing households chores, getting their brothers and sisters ready for school, maybe helping a disabled parent get dressed.
“There are many thousands of children doing this in Scotland, but they can sometimes become isolated and discouraged, and they need social and practical support. That’s why I strongly support the work done by the Trust in the form of Eryc and Trayc, and I’d encourage any young person who is caring for relatives to look at the campaign website and find out more.”
Through a dedicated website www.erycandtrayc.com, an animated film and a story book which was distributed to all Scottish primary schools last year, they bring to life in cartoon form the story of a boy and a girl who are looking after relatives who can’t manage without their help. The campaign was given financial support by the Scottish Government.
Through the book and the website, children can find out what young carers do, what challenges they face and where to get further help and support if they are a young carer themselves.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers says there are an estimated 100,000 young carers in Scotland, roughly one in 10 of the school population. The Trust says that early identification and support of young carers is vital. As part of the Eryc and Trayc project, The Trust also created a toolkit for teachers which contains learning materials, lesson plans and assembly ideas teachers can use with pupils.