What would you spend it on?
There was a wide range of responses on the question of what young carers would spend the grant on. Many were keen to make it clear that they would use the grant in a “sensible” way.
“I think adults think we would blow it – but that’s not right, we are sensible and we would get something that we really want, may save some and be sensible.”
Responses included (in no order):
- Travel costs (including bus passes, driving lessons, money towards a car/ car running costs)
- Socialising (including cinema passes, festivals/ gigs or trips with friends)
- Sport equipment
- Items for the house or household (i.e. kitchen equipment)
- Food for themselves or the household
- Improving their bedroom (i.e. redecorating, partitions to have separate space from siblings, new furniture
- Educational materials (i.e. books, uniform, shoes, computers and school necessities/equipment)
- Spending the money on the person they care for or other family member (for example a trip or gift, or respite care)
- Saving the money
Questions about the grant
A number of other questions and concerns relating to the Scottish Government’s plans for the new Young Carer Grant come up over the course of the focus groups. These are outlined below.
There was a concern from some young carers that the age criteria create a potential gap for people who cannot claim Carers Allowance due to being in education (i.e. college or university), but who are too old to claim the young carer grant. In particular it was noted that the grant would miss young carers aged 18 who are at college, and who often have to spend a lot on travel.
There was a concern from some participants about what support would be available to under 16s. Many felt that it would be valuable for at least the travel card to be available to young carers who are under 16.
Many participants felt that the travel card would be particularly beneficial. Some questioned whether this could be available to young carers outside of the 16-18 bracket.
There was a question over whether more than one young carer in a household could apply for the grant (i.e. when there are multiple siblings providing care), or whether the payment could be split between them.
Some young carers felt that it would be fair to provide split grants, rather than one grant per young carer in a household, because there “isn’t an infinite pot of money”. They felt that one grant per cared for person felt fair. Others felt that the amount of care a person needs can be very variable, so it might be reasonable for 2 of more young carers to receive the grant if they each provide the required number of hours of care.
Caring for more than one person
Some young carers care for multiple people in their household and questioned whether the 16 hours could reflect caring for more than one person. Some also questioned how looking after siblings would be treated – for example looking after a sibling because their parent is unable to.
A small number of young carers noted that £300 per year isn’t a huge amount of money, particularly compared with someone who is working. Some also commented their families struggle financially because their parent(s) are unable to work.
“Financial support for young carers is awful - a lot of young carers leave school so they can get the support. If you're in a home taking money off the person you care for it makes you feel bad. £300 a year is nothing, you won't survive. Even £20 a week would be better - you could get your lunch/bus.”
Some also suggested that it would be helpful to have the choice for the payment to be split, for example on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Email: Catherine Henry
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