Dozens of special guests were invited to Bolton Town Hall to celebrate the launch of a new service to support young people with caring responsibilities.
There are an estimated 1,190 young people in Bolton caring for a family member or friend who has a disability, physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.
The new Young Carers Service, jointly funded by the council and Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), will help these young people access a tailored package of guidance, support and information.
The new service will be run by Bolton Lads and Girls Club and will welcome its first young people in July.
One of the aims of the programme is to identify young people who spend a significant time caring for a relative but do not consider themselves to be carers and have no access to support.
Young people can be referred to the service by their families, GPs, schools and social workers.
The town hall event, held to coincide with Carers Week 2019, was attended by more than 50 professionals from health, education and social care.
They were joined by young people who highlighted some of the challenges they face as carers.
The average young carer is 12-years-old and spends 30 hours a week on their caring duties, with 73% having to take time off school in order to cope.
They are also at greater risk of depression, anxiety, stress and poor mental health.
“These remarkable young people take on a level of responsibility beyond their years and it is vital that they know they are not alone.
“The theme of Carers Week 2019 is about helping carers get connected and this new service is designed to connect our young carers with the support and guidance they need.
“Every young person in Bolton deserves the best possible start in life and no carer should be disadvantaged because they are looking after a loved one.”
Karen Edwards OBE and the Chief Executive of the Lads and Girls Club said: “We are really proud and privileged to be leading on the Young Carers Service for Bolton.
“What we know is that the impact on a young person carrying out a caring role can be significant and have a long-lasting effect on their future development.”
For more information on the support and advice available, visits www.bolton.gov.uk/help-carers.