Supporting Armed Forces Young Carers During Pandemic

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Royal Caledonian Education Trust has supported growing numbers of children and young people from serving personnel, reservist and veteran families across Scotland who are caring for either loved ones at home or members of their local community, through the charity’s Young Carers Fund.

Many of the restrictions which have been put in place over the past eighteen months, as a result for the pandemic, has presented a range of additional considerations for young carers, who have adapted and responded to ensure the needs of loved ones and members of their local community continue to be supported during these unprecedented times.

Having received funding from the Scottish Veterans Fund and Standard Life Aberdeen, the Royal Caledonian Education Trust has awarded a series of grant awards to young carers across Scotland from serving personnel, reservist and veteran families during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have protected the identities of our beneficiaries within the following case studies.

John (11 years old) helps look after a sibling with severe autism, who requested funding from the Royal Caledonian Education Trust to purchase a bike to spend greater amounts of time with friends. John lives in a small, isolated village and the enhanced mobility to move around to meet friends nearby has provided a significant boost to his mental health and wellbeing and plenty of opportunities to take a break from his caring responsibilities.

Jo (19 years old) cares for multiple family members and a close friend, whilst also working towards gaining a qualification at university, who requested financial support from the Royal Caledonian Education Trust for motor cycle lessons. The opportunity to earn his licence will enhance his independence and enable Jack to travel to lectures as well as a range of activities with friends as a break from caring responsibilities. 

Sarah (6 years old) and Christopher (11 years old) help care for a family member living with life-changing mobility problems. The children love playing outdoors, who requested financial support from the Royal Caledonian Education Trust to purchase a playhouse for their garden. The addition of the playhouse has made a significant difference to their wellbeing, which means the children can venture outdoors in any weather for fun and games.

Having awarded these grants over the past eighteen months, the Royal Caledonian Education Trust reached out to beneficiaries to offer further funding to enjoy a well-earned break wth family having faced so many considerable, unique challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have also protected the identity of our beneficiaries in the following case study.

Colin and Jess were able to have a carefree holiday and were able to act like children for a week, without the added financial stress of us paying for the holiday in the first place. They have consistently told everyone who has asked just how amazing the holiday was and how great the caravan was too. They had a room each whilst we were away which they both loved, as this is not something that we have at home. They smiled the whole time we were away.

“The difference the holiday made to myself was incredible. We were able to have a full week away, which is not something we would have managed financially this year due to my illnesses. We were able to have a week at a caravan park which was very carefree and we were able to enjoy a wide range of activities. Seeing their faces light up throughout the whole trip away made me feel so much better emotionally too. It did cost us a bit of money but nothing in comparison to what the trip should have cost us, so the support was very much appreciated.”

The Royal Caledonian Education Trust supports young carers from serving personnel, reservist or veteran family in Scotland. The charity is currently accepting applications for funding, please get in touch with familysupport@rcet.org.uk for further information.