YOUNG carers in Kirklees have been speaking to MPs this week about the challenges they face and how they can suffer from loneliness.

The youngsters from a Barnardo’s service were talking to Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin and Minister for Loneliness Tracey Crouch MP about the real issues they face when caring.

The MPs met with young carers Megan,17, Jack, 12, Jameal, 13, and Ben, 14, from Barnardo’s Kirklees Young Carers’ service in Batley Library and Windybank Community Centre in Liversedge.

They explained about the problem of isolation for young carers and the support they have had from the children’s charity.

Young carers are children under 18 who care for a family member, often a parent, who may be affected by a physical or mental health difficulty, a disability or a substance misuse problem. They can often become anxious and isolated because of their caring commitments.

The Minister visited Ms Brabin’s constituency to meet the young carers and volunteers from a parent and toddler group.

Ms Brabin said: “I have nothing but admiration for young carers and it was a pleasure to meet the young carers whose resilience and dedication to their families should be celebrated.

“Being a young carer is such a huge responsibility and it is important to raise awareness about the numerous challenges they face.

“And as we heard on the day, caring for someone and the responsibilities involved can be very time-consuming and socially isolating – making support networks such as Kirklees Young Carers all the more important.”

Young carer Megan, 17, who is at college and cares for her dad who has MS, was introduced to the politicians. She said: “They asked me about my social life and if it is stressful being a young carer and they were really nice. I told them how tiring it can be when you are a carer and how much being a carer effects my social life.”

The young people spoke about the benefits of being able to take a break from their caring roles and spend time with other young carers at Barnardo’s groups and outings.

Manager of the Barnardo’s Young Carers’ service Liz Robson said: “We welcomed the opportunity for our young people to meet with the MPs and discuss first-hand the challenges and issues they face on a daily basis.

“Our young carers are resilient young people who we are incredibly proud to work with. By making their voice heard today they will help to shape understanding for other young carers across the country.”

Barnardo’s Kirklees Young Carers is a community based service operating across Kirklees.

It is available to young carers aged 8-18 and will offer one-to-one and group support as well as holiday activities.

The last national census suggests there were 953 young carers, age 15 or younger in Kirklees. A 2014 Kirklees school survey identified eight per cent of students as recognising themselves as being carers of a parent, relative or a brother or sister.