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Crossroads Caring For Carers (NI) Ltd

Contact Information

7 Regent Street , Newtownards ,
BT23 4AB View Location on Map >
Contact Person
Christine Best - Chief Executive
Telephone Number
028 9181 4455
Fax Number
028 9181 2112
Email Address
Web Address Opens in a new window

Please contact our office for more information using the telephone number given in this profile.

Other Information

Facilities Information

Main Services Provided

Crossroads Young Carers Project were the first charity in Northern Ireland to recognise the vital role children play in caring for an ill/disabled family member on a daily basis. Crossroads Young Carers Project’s aim is to provide support for children who ‘care’ for another member of their family who may be ill, disabled, have mental health problems or an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Crossroads believe that children and young people acting in a caring capacity within their families should enjoy the same life chances as all other children. Crossroads hold these Young Carers in the highest esteem because of their dedication and commitment to their families. Often these children and young people have surrendered much of their childhood to their family responsibilities.

The aims of the Young Carers Project

■To raise awareness about the issue of Young Carers amongst health, education, social work and leisure agencies
■To identify Young Carers
■To offer support services to Young Carers and their families
■To reduce social exclusion for Young Carers
■To reduce physical, emotional and social problems among Young Carers

Young Carer Definition :-

A Young Carer is a child or young person under the age of 23, whose life is affected by providing significant care, assistance, or support to a sick, or disabled relative at home."

How can schools identify young carers?

Young carers are often difficult to identify because they hide their caring roles due to fear of becoming marginalised from their peers, the institutionalisation of the care receiver, or child protection proceedings. However the impact of caring responsibilities may be manifested in a number of ways and a combination of factors may indicate that a child or young person is caring. These include:

■The presence of illness or disability in the family
■Difficulties in school attendance
■The young person is sometimes unwell, stressed or depressed
■Poor concentration
■Academic performance is below potential
■Difficulty joining in extracurricular activities
■Inability to complete homework
■Isolation from peers or problems interacting with peers
■Physical problems such as back pain from lifting an adult

How can schools support young carers?

Young carers may be identified in school or their caring responsibilities made known to the school. In such cases the school’s response can have an enormous impact on the young carer, with sensitive support from schools proving to be hugely beneficial in reducing young carers’ anxiety. Many young carers and their families have complex needs that require multi-agency support and schools are one of the agencies that may be involved. Schools clearly have a responsibility to address young carers’ needs when their educational achievement and pastoral welfare is affected by their caring role. The suggestions below illustrate some ways in which schools may support young carers.

■Respond to young carers needs sympathetically and sensitively and be sensitive to the needs of family members
■Teachers should tell only those staff that need to know, and only with the young person’s permission
■Make information regarding health issues and local community services available and accessible to all young people
■Know who is available locally to meet young carers needs
■Offer the young carers the use of a telephone. This allows them to phone the care receiver during the day to check on their welfare, thus reducing anxiety and improving attendance and concentration.
■Teachers need to be sensitive and flexible if young carers arrive late or are not always immediately focused on school work
■Be sensitive – do not discuss young carers situations in front of other pupils or parents
How can Crossroads help schools?

Crossroads Young Carers Officers will work with schools to offer a free service which is intended to support teaching staff as well as pupils. This includes:

■Presentations to raise awareness of young carers and to offer Crossroads Young Carers Project support
■Teacher training to highlight the issue of young carers and how schools can implement a policy for young carers
■The provision of Crossroads Young Carers literature and promotional material
■Referral system to Crossroads Young Carers Project – self referral or teacher referral
■To facilitate better communication between young carers, their families and teaching staff

Crossroads is committed to delivering a first class, flexible education support programme to promote awareness of young carers in schools. Through our Young Carers Project we aim to raise awareness of young carers and to provide support that will allow them to achieve a balance between caring for others and fulfilling their own needs.

Organisation Type
  • Voluntary
Main Age Groups
  • 5-11 years
  • 12-16 years
  • 17-18 years
  • 19-25 years
Method of Access (Referral)
  • GP
  • Health Visitor
  • Hospital
  • School
  • Self
  • Social Worker
Family Support Services Categories
  • Holidays / Respite
  • Home / School Links
  • Personal Development
Main Category of Services
  • Carer
  • Disability

Areas covered

  • Antrim
  • Ards
  • Ballymena
  • Ballymoney
  • Belfast
  • Carrickfergus
  • Castlereagh
  • Cookstown
  • Craigavon
  • Down
  • Larne
  • Lisburn
  • Magherafelt
  • Newtownabbey
  • North Down


Crossroads Caring For Carers (NI) Ltd

  • Crossroads Caring For Carers (NI) Ltd