"I have been a full-time carer for my parents since I was 11 years old. I have always struggled with being extremely shy, quiet, and reserved. This was further worsened by challenges at school, and I completely shut myself off from the world due to very high anxiety.
I didn’t feel like I had the support or understanding I needed as a young carer from my school, not seeing the barriers I was facing as a full-time carer, but thinking I wasn’t putting in enough time or effort, while also trying to balance schoolwork and battling my own ill mental health. The Scottish education system needs to support young carers much more and the specific challenges we face.
The barriers that I have had are extremely low-confidence and low self-esteem which leads to constant self-doubt as well as having to tackle social anxiety disorder daily. Although it has been a lengthy road and it has been a difficult struggle, I have overcome these barriers whilst receiving support from Prince’s Trust and working on the Young Person’s Guarantee Youth Leadership Panel.
The project has had a major impact on me over the past 2 years, being able to talk to many different groups of people, improving on my public speaking skills, building my confidence, making friends and making a difference, even if it’s only in a small way makes me feel so fulfilled and happy.
My role in Prince’s Trust is now as a Young Ambassador which means raising awareness of challenges young people face across the UK, attending events, fundraisers and sharing my story and experiences to inspire and influence change wherever I can.
My role as a member of the Youth Leadership Panel for the Young Person’s Guarantee is to use my experiences and the challenges I have faced as well as the experiences of the other panel members to feed into the Guarantee to shape it, so it supports young people all across Scotland, no matter what their background is.
I won the Prince’s Trust ‘Young Changemaker of the Year’ Award for 2022 after working to improve my own mental health and career prospects and have used my experiences and challenges I have faced to speak up for other young people all across the UK fighting to change the system that does not support us.
For young people, I want to see the Scottish Government doing as much as possible to ensure the local authorities, education system, the welfare system, the social care system, all employers, and training providers support every single young person to achieve their dreams without judgement or being excluded from any opportunities because of their socio-economic background.
From my own experiences, I would like to see the Scottish Government review carers policy and bring in real life carers to make the changes instead of government officials and charities. The policies need to support young adult carers instead of only young carers as we are a completely different group, with different challenges and needs in a different age bracket, making sure we are listened to and supported by local authorities and the Scottish Government. I also want to see Government ensuring local authorities push the boundaries to help disabled people live a full life.
As a young person in Scotland, I want to see Government ensuring young people are fully supported in everything that they do, and the system supporting, not hindering or discouraging them in any way because of their background."