The life of a young adult carer

Shadow of a young person on a swing

Sam cares for his younger brother, Ben. Sam is now in his final year at college and has been living away from home. His caring role has diminished while at college, but he will be returning home in the summer and will be on standby to resume caring for his brother, alongside his parents.

Shadow of a young person on a swing


Sam has been a carer for his 17-year-old brother Ben for as long as he can remember. Ben has autism, complex learning difficulties and epilepsy. Although his parents have tried to shield him to try to give Sam as normal a life as possible, he feels like he is invisible and has had to grow up very quickly.

“School was a difficult time, trying to do homework and trying to study and care for Ben at the same time. My brother’s seizures became worse over lockdown, he was having two seizures every week. As a young guy, I was trying to get on with my life and felt helpless as I could not do anything to help. I was trying to study for exams and there was constant background noise. Cycling was an escape for me and still is.

“My parents were trying to give me a normal live, trying to support me and they were able to shield me a lot. It still has an effect even now. At a college open day, I was the only person there without my parents which is sad. I feel like an invisible child.

“One night I was studying for my highers and my dad was shouting for help with my brother who was having seizure. Ben is 6ft tall and over 70 kg. Dad was holding him, and my brother’s face was blue. I’ve had to work through that experience. I am first aid trained able to deal with the seizures in a more controlled way. I would go to school next day and compartmentalise it. In the last few years, I have been able to learn coping mechanisms”.

“Over the summer I will be at home and back to family life and caring responsibilities. I have grown up very quickly. In school and college, I know I was more mature than anyone else. I am 19 and sound like I am 25 years old.  As a young carer, you have to grow up very quickly and jump to it. You are given a lot of responsibilities as a child. I have had a lot of independence as child and forced to grow up quickly. This cannot be overstated. You are always branded as very mature. It’s weird for me. I do not relate to younger groups and don’t relate to older groups. I am learning to live with this, however I am very well prepared in problem solving!”

“Carers Link has provided a lot of respite for me. I cannot go on family breaks as it is too stressful to cope with. The charity has given me time away and provided a college reference and a carers statement.

Support from Carers Link was there from the start. When I was very young, I didn’t understand what support meant and didn’t know what a carer was. I thought I was helping. People don’t know they’re a carer. It’s vital to get information early so that you have support, you deserve as much support as you need”.

How to get started when you become a carer

An older woman standing by a tree

An older woman standing by a tree

Whether you have recently become a carer or have been caring for many years, it can sometimes be difficult to even know even where to start and what services and support are available to suit your individual situation and needs.

Liz Dennis is a carer for her husband who was diagnosed with dementia in 2023, after they had moved to East Dunbartonshire.

Liz said: “My husband’s memory wasn’t great and then he was diagnosed with dementia. We were  new to the area, and we did not know anyone here. It was difficult to know where to start to get help. After helpful advice from the  Citizens Advice Bureau,  we were referred to Carers Link. The team were so gentle and supportive, and they helped to guide me through the advocacy process. I managed to get all of the information at the right time and that gave me confidence to find what I was looking for”.

Advocacy means getting support to ensure that your  views, opinions and wishes are listened to and considered when decisions are made about the individual you are caring for. Our advocacy team can help you. They can speak on your behalf to help you gain access to information and to explore options  and consider possible outcomes.

 “The Legal Clinic has been  very helpful” Liz said. “People can flounder if they know what they are looking for but cannot find it.  The lawyer gave me all the information that I needed to carefully consider our situation. It has helped me to make decisions  to support planning ahead”.

As well as Advocacy, Carers Link offers a monthly Legal Clinic that is free of charge and can provide information and advice. It gives carers the chance to have a short one to one meeting with a solicitor to ask questions or seek legal advice on issu

es such as Power of Attorney, Guardianship, Wills, Care Home fees and related issues.  (The Legal Clinic cannot provide financial or benefits advice).

“My initial contact was with the team leader, over the telephone, who advised me of what was available as a base line, where to start and what to apply for. The emails and e-bulletins are very well set out so that it is easy to identify your own need and work with what suits you.

“I attend a monthly Carers Cafe that is well run and organised. Everyone is given a chance to share their experiences, relevant information is provided when needed and relevant questions are asked to guide thought processes and needs.

“I have had a lot of 

help from the tech buddy service and had advice on buying a new laptop and it has been set up and is working!  

“I find the Mindfulness sessions helpful and useful.  They are well run and inclusive. I saw the possibility of respite breaks for carers through the Carer’s Link e-bulletin.  I got in touch and the availability of what would suit my needs is being investigated. 

Our information service keeps carers up to date with wellbeing sessions that aim to give carers a break and offer friendship and support as well as funding for short breaks. Monthly what’s on and weekly e-bulletins, offer a calendar of activities from mindfulness, to getting online, yoga, a walking group, while carer cafes are a place to meet and chat and other carers.

“Caring for a loved one with dementia is really challenging in many ways.  Carers Link have been invaluable in their friendship and support”.

If you are caring for someone you can contact Carers Link today

Carers Link can help  get you started or support you in your caring role.  We are  local and dedicated to providing a range of  free services from support, advocacy and information to wellbeing classes, a legal clinic  and breaks for unpaid carers of all ages who live or care for someone within the East Dunbartonshire area.

A day in the life of a young carer

Group of young carers sitting on a branch of a tree

Group of young carers sitting on a branch of a tree

Hi, my names Jenni and I am a young carer. I have been a young carer since the age of 10 and I care for my mum, gran and grandpa.  Being a young carer doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, it can also be a positive. The positive side to being a young carer is that I have gained loads of great skills at such a young age  and have been able to develop those skills as I get older.

Being a young carer can also have its challenges. One of the

biggest challenges for a young carer is school. Having to balance the caring role at home and then having to worry about getting homework done in time and also having to study for tests is alot of pressure on one person and can really affect them mentally. Throughout the school, there are loads of young carers that teachers may not know about, and it ca

n be really hard for someone to explain to their teachers about what goes on outside of school, which can also make it harder to explain to teachers why they are not revising for tests or being able to compete homework for a specific date.

A young carers day to day life can be very busy which can cause school to be more stressful. This can make it hard to concentrate in school as they have to think about what they need to do, when they get home from school or whether or not they need to go the shops to get dinner or some general shopping. Some young carers have the responsibility for looking after their sick family (members) and also having to look after any sibling they may have. As a young carer my day to day life consists of me getting up in the morning, making sure me and my sister are ready and have everything for school, then making sure we get to school on time.

After that I have to go to all my classes and catch up on any homework I have missed or still to be done or any work that has to be done. Then I volunteer at after school clubs which gives me a break from all the school work and home stuff for a while. Then I head home and help around the house and head to my gran to check everything is okay there. Helping around the house consists of helping make dinner, tidying the house up and doing washing. This day to day life is a daily routine for me but its can be different for all young carers, it isn’t all the same. Sometimes it can be a little easier or it can sometimes be double, but regardless of how easy or difficult it is, it’s always a challenge.

Generous Inner Wheel Fundraisers in Kirkintilloch raise £900 for Carers Link

Presentation of inner wheel cheque

Presentation of inner wheel cheque

Picture shows President Margaret Pears and members of the Inner Wheel, Kathleen MacPherson, Morag Barron, Annette Adams, Dorothy Stewart and Veronica Regan, Fundraiser from Carers Link.

 The Inner Wheel Club of Kirkintilloch has once again proven their commitment to making a positive impact in their community by raising an impressive £900 for Carers Link. This invaluable contribution will directly benefit the young carers in Kirkintilloch supported by Carers Link, who often shoulder immense responsibilities and sacrifices from a young age.

Margaret Pears, President of the Inner Wheel Club of Kirkintilloch said, ‘After hearing an inspirational talk from one of the Carers Link Young Carers, the Carers Link Young Carer Support Worker, and their Fundraiser, our members felt that Young Carers in our community are often overlooked and we would therefore like to support them through Carers Link.  We are delighted that, due to the generosity of members and friends, we were able to make this donation.’

Thanks to this generosity, Carers Link will be able to offer summer holiday activities, providing these young carers with a well-deserved break from their demanding responsibilities. These activities will not only offer a fun and memorable time for the young carers but also serve as a crucial opportunity for them to connect with others who share similar experiences.

The funds will also go towards supporting residential breaks for the young carers, allowing them to take some time away from their carer duties to relax and rejuvenate. These breaks can be transformative, offering a chance to escape from the daily challenges and pressures they face.

Jennifer Roe, Chief Executive of Carers Link said, “The contribution from the Inner Wheel Club of Kirkintilloch will hugely benefit the lives of our young carers and demonstrates the power of collective kindness and compassion to uplift and empower those facing challenging circumstances.”

If you are interested in helping to support unpaid carers in East Dunbartonshire, please contact Veronica at Carers Link on 07827 062645, or donate directly online.

Carers Link team brave a wet and windy Kiltwalk

Kiltwalkers celebrate completing the walk

Walkers at a wet and windy Glasgow Kiltwalk managed to raise nearly £3000 on Sunday 30 April for Carers Link to enable them to continue to provide crucial services for unpaid carers throughout East Dunbartonshire.

Eleven walkers, carers and supporters from Carers Link took part last Sunday and between them clocked up over 125 miles.

Also, managing to walk over both the start and finish line was Chloe Donlevy who has 2 rare conditions resulting in multiple disabilities.  Chloe’s Mum, Clare, said, “Chloe has dystonia which affects the muscles all over her body but mainly in her lower legs and feet which means fully independent walking is not

Kiltwalk participants including Amy and Sir Tom Hunter

something Chloe has quite mastered yet.  She can only do a little supported walking at a time so her little legs worked extremely hard!  She had the best day and insisted on holding Sir Tom’s hand for the photo.”

Also pictured is Chloe’s big sister Aimee who is a young carer and provides constant support and love for her little sister so this was Chloe’s turn to give something back to Aimee.

Kiltwalk CEO, Paul Cooney, said, “We are so proud of the Glasgow Kiltwalk heroes for raising vital funds for 865 charities this year at Glasgow Kiltwalk and of course Carers Link East Dunbartonshire is one of those great charities!

Big congratulations to superstar Chloe and her family for completing their Kiltwalk challenge on April 30 and for raising awareness of Carers Link who play such an important part in the lives of many carers in East Dunbartonshire”.

Val is the Carers Grant Coordinator at Carers link.  She and her friend Colette made a mighty effort with the Mighty Stride – walking a whopping 22.7 miles. Val said “It is the first time that I have ever walked this distance but the thought of doing it for Carers Val and Colette at the finish with their medalsLink spurred us on, completing it in 8 hours.  Despite the weather, spirits were good amongst the walkers – everyone encouraged each other.”



If you are interested in helping to support unpaid carers in East Dunbartonshire, please contact Veronica at Carers Link on 07827 062645, or donate directly online.

Office Banter – new staff part 2

In this episode Katy chats to two new(ish) members of Carers Link’s staff – Claire and Veronica.

Claire works on our wellbeing project and talks about why you should get in touch, and what she can do to help.

Veronica is our new fundraising administrator and discusses how she hopes to increase donations to Carers Link. One way is to sign up to do this year’s Glasgow Kiltwalk, which you can do at Choose your length and then when you register type Carers Link as your chosen charity.


The Lowdown Episode 53

In this episode Katy talks to Scott, Carers Link’s Employability Coordinator, about how our new service can help carers. They chat about the skills that you develop as a carer and how they are relevant to the workplace, as well as coping with working alongside caring.

There is also information about how Carers Link can help you in your job hunt, and the steps that you will go through as Scott supports you through the process of applying. This includes identifying your skills and potential jobs, helping you write your CV and complete applications, the interview process and beyond.

They also talk about the Carer Positive scheme, and the benefits to employers that employing a carer can have, and how working can benefit carers’ wellbeing – physical, mental and financial


Cost of Living Crisis

In this episode Katy talks to Iain Macdonald from East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau about the cost of living crisis. They discuss tips to minimise energy costs and expenditure as well as explaining the help that is available and how carers can get help to access it.

Since the episode was recorded the government announced the energy price guarantee in addition to the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme, and you can read more about that at

East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau website is, and you can call them on 0141 775 3220 or email

Other websites which may be useful include:

Money Saving Expert –

Broadband social tariffs –


This week we welcomed Shannen Calderwood, our new Wellbeing Worker who came along to talk about her new role, why wellbeing is important, and how she can help carers whose wellbeing needs a boost.


You can find out about upcoming Carer Cafes on our latest events calendar

The walk we mentioned is on 1st September 2022, and can be booked through our website

Listen to the sleep podcast

You can contact Shannen by emailing or calling 0800 975 2131 or 07903 889 858

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Carers Link is a Registered Charity NO. SC034447 and Registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee Number 270702