Young carers across the Hampshire are set to see their support services extended and enhanced thanks to one of the largest single grants by The Big Lottery Fundbeing awarded to a consortium of voluntary sector groups across the county.

The consortium, made up of representatives from Young Carers Projects across Hampshire in Andover, Winchester, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, East Hants, Fareham and Gosport, Hart and Rushmoor, New Forest, Havant, Romsey. Basingstoke Voluntary Action, took the lead on the bid and coordinated the funding application which has led to the group being granted £1,224,871.

Hampshire Young Carers Alliance (HYCA) supports young carers (up to the age of 18) whose life is affected by looking after someone with a disability or long-term illness.

The 2011 census identified 4109 young carers in Hampshire.   HYCA projects currently only supports a small proportion of these young carers demonstrating there are still a high proportion of unsupported young carers across the county. The funding will help unearth ‘hidden’ young carers and to work with schools, families, and improve collaborative working across the ten projects as well as networking and showcasing the model of delivery across the UK.

Stephen Morgan, Basingstoke Voluntary Action’s chief executive said: “We’re absolutely delighted. This big grant is a huge help for often unsung – yet fantastic – work across Hampshire. Funding will enable us to increase support to young carers; help them better cope with managing their own situations; improve health, resilience and emotional well-being; and ensure young people feel better equipped to make informed choices and succeed educationally.”

HYCA aims to ensure there is a consistent approach across the county, so that young carers do not experience a ‘post code lottery’ of support because of where they live. The money will be held by Basingstoke as the lead organisation, and each project for the next 3 years will receive around £40k.

Eastleigh Young Carers on February Half Term Trip to OxygenJoanne Miles, Manager at Eastleigh Young Carers Project said: “In the current funding climate, projects can end up pitching against each other which is not conducive to productive multi-agency working. With HYCA, projects can share best practice and apply for bigger pots of money together, to ensure young carers right across Hampshire have access to the extra support and respite they need. This Big Lottery money will go a long way to help us achieve these aims.”

Ed Ives-Wara, Manager at Basingstoke Voluntary Action and HYCA Chair added:“This year has seen 10 partner organisations become a strong and resilient consortium with the shared aims and values across the board. Basingstoke Voluntary Action are pleased to receive this grant award on behalf of the Hampshire Young Carers Alliance, through a co-ordinated approach we will work with Schools and Families, provide respite opportunities and ensure that Young Carers voices and opinions are heard to help shape local and national policy. This project couldn’t have come at a better time when new legislation and policy around young carers is forming.”