Young carers are children who help look after a family member who is disabled, sick or has a mental health problem.

We also support young carers living with drug and alcohol related problems plus domestic violence.

A young carers responsibility can include: cooking, shopping, cleaning and giving emotional support.

Children taking on such adult responsibilities can often mean they are missing out on opportunities that other children have to play, learn, have fund and basically just be kids'.

A child faced with such responsibilities they can often feel isolated, afraid to ask for help for fear of letting their family down.

The Rochford Young carers project began in 2005 to address the needs of young carers in the district.

Rochford young carers project provides a chance for these children to get a break from their caring role. It gives an opportunity to make new friends, take part in activities, days out and most of all have fun.

It also provides a safe space to talk about young carers' issues with people who understand.

The young carers scheme in Rochford District now has over 60 young carers in their group.

Although primarily funded by Essex County Council further funding has been provided for special projects from other sources such as Rochford District Council, Youth opportunities, The Lions and BBC Children in need.

Activities are both recreational and educational and include club sessions, days out, riding lessons, sport leaders courses to swimming and cinema trips.

Supportive activities such as counselling are also provided.

Rochford Young carers project is proud to have a strong and supportive group of volunteers who assist in making all these activities such great fun for the children involved. The project has a close working relationship with the local children's teams to ensure the young carers have the best support possible.

For young carers is can often be hard work caring for a loved one. With the support the this project is able to provide they can support the carer, giving these children the opportunities we often take for granted but most of all giving them the chance to be children!.

For more details of the Rochford Young Carers Project please contact:

Project Leader Marion Horsley Tel: 01268 775255