Somerset

Charities to support Somerset's young carers in council plan

(L-r) Mother Fleur, son Bassy and daughter Immy
Image caption Immy, 16, (right) and her brother Bassy care for their mother Fleur

Charities will be stepping in to support young carers in Somerset under plans unveiled by the county council.

The local authority had paused its plans after concerns there was not enough consultation with the young people and their families.

But after a meeting on Monday, the council voted through its proposals to help charities find funding streams.

Friends of Young Carers, which has criticised the shake-up, said it would hold the council to account.

The charity worked closely with the previous in-house young carers' service which has now been disbanded.

Immy Wakefield, 16, who cares for her mother Fleur at their home in Frome, said: "I'm still not happy about it but it's better than nothing.

"I didn't see the problem with it in the first place but I'm glad they're putting in some plans."

'Valued and encouraged'

The plans also hope to reach more carers across the county, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Somerset County Council, which currently helps 60 young carers, said it believed it could identify up to 1,750 who can be helped by working with schools and dropping formal assessments.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for children and families, said: "It's been a long road to getting things to a much better place.

"We have been very 'boundary-ed' in our approach, and we need to be open to what others, and particularly what the voluntary sector, can achieve.

"Volunteers in the new arrangement will absolutely be valued and encouraged."

Funding will be kept to provide for those who need intensive statutory support.

The council said its research had shown there were up to 20 funding sources which charities could apply to for funding from on behalf of young carers.

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