An Aberdeen teenager has opened up about the challenges of being a carer for her mum during lockdown.
Chantelle Booth admitted it had been “challenging” but has learnt to adapt to a new normality, while also finding some time to develop her own hobbies.
Aberdeen Young Carers Service is a joint initiative between Barnardo’s Scotland and Aberdeen City Council – it was the first of its kind in the north-east.
The service has been supporting young carers who are experiencing added pressure due to the pandemic.
Chantelle, 17, said: “It is more isolating and there isn’t as much freedom to get out.
“Lockdown has helped me realise more hobbies I have that I didn’t realise. I was always at home – it has pushed me to go out on walks more and enjoy nature, I’ve also been doing art.
“You need to be in a good mind yourself to give care to another person.”
The St Machar’s Academy pupil has been looking after her mum since she was a child but was identified as a young carer two years ago and is now supported by the service.
There is a range of support available to ensure the health and well-being of young carers, and the team has noted a significant increase in referrals since lockdown.
Young carers were all offered phones to maintain “vital” face-to-face contact and a well-being fund was created to help with increased electricity bills, food shops and travel to supermarkets. Food parcels for those with dietary needs were also made up.
Socially distanced support meetings have also taken place, along with Zoom calls. Board games and arts and crafts have also been distributed to keep the young carers occupied.
Support worker Lisa McCulloch said: “The school closures have been an added stress and we’re aware that with the school holidays starting in two weeks referrals have increased in the city. We really need to support young carers.”