We have recently spoken to Ngozi about when she and her family accessed support from our Lambeth Young Carers’ Service during a particularly challenging time.
Ngozichukwu is a mother of four, living in the Borough of Lambeth. She and her family accessed Lambeth Young Carers’ Services during a particularly challenging time.
I live with health challenges, due to a lifelong kidney condition. My children often provide me with support. As well as this I care for my teenage son, who has autism, as well as two people with mental health issues.
Before I was put in touch with Carers’ Hub, I did not understand that we were carers, as it was a normal part of family life. Fortunately, my children’s school took notice.
At the time, I had had surgery, lost my job and was in and out of hospital quite a lot. Things were going downhill quickly. We were struggling. Soon, the school’s SENCO approached me to let me know that there was support available. To be honest, I was very sceptical at first. I asked a lot of questions trying to understand what this ‘young carers’ thing was all about. The SENCO explained it all to me - he took his time to help me understand.
That’s how we first came into contact with Lambeth Young Carers.
All the while I'd been going in and out of hospital, no one ever mentioned anything about support to me. I didn’t know about benefits, support for my children, or my own care entitlement.
I realise now that people don't know how to access the support, which makes individuals like myself fall into hardship. Even mental health is impacted, not just for the person that has the disability, but also for the carers themselves.
Thanks to Young Carers, I came to realise that I had been a carer all my life. My brother has downs syndrome, and I grew up helping with his care. They helped to take a lot of pressure off of my children’s shoulders, by guiding us to services that could provide care and support.
I've seen my family change for the better. Now there's a lot of stability, there's a lot less worry, we are happier and more relaxed. We know that we aren’t alone.
Carers’ Hub is always there to listen. If I am having a hard time, I can ring them, even if I just need to get things off my chest. I often call it my therapy.
They advocate for families like mine. During the pandemic I had issues with the company providing my care, who did not follow my need for the same care staff to be assigned each week, to limit risk of infection. Carers’ Hub helped me form a complaint, looking at policies and practice, and going to the Care Commission.
My children have been able to attend activities and talk to the Young Carers team. They don’t feel alone anymore.
Carers’ Hub will visit schools to check in and have a chat. My children would return home telling me about who visited, and what they talked about. It was a comfort to me, as a parent, to know that somebody was looking out for them.
The Young Carers team also helped my son, when he was refusing school because I was unwell. He wanted to come to the hospital with me, even though this was not allowed, and was incredibly anxious. It meant I missed some appointments. The school was not providing adequate support to him during this time.
The Carers’ Hub team began working with the school, pushing my son’s needs and requesting support to ensure that school was a stable and safe environment for him.
Lambeth Young Carers and Carers’ Hub have been amazing. I cannot fully express how much they have helped myself and my family. My children began receiving support in primary school, now they are each thriving at secondary school or university.
I had felt helpless and hopeless, because, even when I tried, things weren’t getting any better, and my children were stressed and tired. Thanks to Carers’ Hub, we got out of this cycle and found our joy again.
I want all families to know that this service is brilliant.
I think a lot of people are scared, because they don’t know what to expect when they get a referral and think their children may be taken away. It is not like that at all.
I am one of you and was worried about divulging information or letting people know how hard things were. I declined support for a long time, but now I know that admitting my vulnerability is a strength. If I need help, I can ask for it.
To all of the young carers out there, please don’t feel like you are alone. Lambeth Young Carers can help.
They can help you grow as an individual. This service gives you the tools to improve your wellbeing and mental health. They also give so many opportunities to attend activities and workshops, even supporting you with career planning. You will get time to relax and to reflect and have lots of fun.
To the team at Carers’ Hub, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you've done for myself and other families. I appreciate all of you so much.
If you want to access our services, get in touch via email or call 020 7501 8970.