Two children from Sutton have shared their experiences to help ensure other young carers are not alone.

Over the past year, unpaid carers across Sutton have been hugely impacted by the pandemic.

The caring community has continued to step up to support family members and friends, whilst also adapting to coronavirus.

Despite these challenges, many carers, including young carers, have spoken up to share their personal experiences to help others.

When young carer Finley Taheny was aged only 10-years-old, he took action in his primary school by delivering an assembly alongside his Support Worker, Julia Kerr.

Your Local Guardian: Finley and his mumFinley and his mum

Finley bravely spoke up in front of his peers to say: “I am a young carer and never want another child to go through the loneliness that I have”.

Finley, now aged 11 at John Fisher School, was honoured as this year’s recipient of the ‘Outstanding Young Person’ award at Sutton Community Awards 2020.

He has continued his mission to highlight the issues faced by young carers, fighting for the platform for their voices to be heard.

As the face of the newly relaunched Young Carers Ambassadors Programme at Sutton Carers Centre, he hopes that more young carers will come forward to speak to those in power, campaign for change and take action.

He also hopes to help build a peer support group for those young carers feeling most alone, like he once was.

Sutton Carers Centre also highlighted the efforts of 15-year-old Lilly, who has been supported by the centre since the beginning of last year.

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During lockdown, Lilly wrote a song, and then came forward to perform it live online to her peers.

This week Lilly teamed up with Sutton Carers Centre to launch 'Lilly's Song' to support other young carers across the UK.

Shukri Mohamed, Young Carers Service Manager at Sutton Carers Centre, said: "This is a crucial time for Young Carers, young people who are proud, but may not be enjoying carefree childhoods because they are looking after a parent or sibling who is physically or mentally ill or disabled.

"Covid-19 has hit hard and some young carers may even spend more hours caring than studying. They may be worried, isolated, their mental health and wellbeing suffering. Finley and Lilly want this to change and for no Young Carer to be hidden away.

"Sutton’s communities have come together during the pandemic, so please let’s all pledge to take action for Young Carers now."

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The London Borough of Sutton’s Carers’ Champions, Councillor Marlene Heron and Councillor Chris Williams, said: “Collectively, we pledge to take action for Young Carers in Sutton. We value Young Carers’ voices and will work to ensure that they are heard at the highest level in Sutton.

"We also pledge to recognise and respect Young Carers’ experiences and will use this to inform the ambitious work of the Council. As a council, we need to do our best to support Young Carers’ futures by promoting the opportunities that will help every Young Carer achieve their goals and aspirations.”

If you are a young carer and would like help from Sutton Carers Centre visit here.