Young Carers

Crossroads young carers supports children and young people caring on a daily basis.


Whilst many children and young people will do jobs around the home, appropriate to their age and ability, Young Carers do things and take on a level of responsibility well beyond that of their peers.

All carers need support but, because of the potential adverse impact in the longer term on their educational, social and emotional development, young carers have particular needs. They need more recognition, understanding and help.

Our vision is to support, serve and strengthen young carers.


  • Young carer

    A child or young person under the age of 23, whose life is affected by providing significant care, assistance or support at home to a family member with an illness, mental health problem, drug/ alcohol addiction or disability.

Crossroads Young Carers

We primarily provide social support as our young carers meet others in similar situations, through outings. We also run workshops to equip them with different skills. We recognise the vital role young people play in caring for an ill/disabled family member on a daily basis. We have helped over 3000 young carers across Northern Ireland since 1994.

Crossroads Young Carers

Icon_Young Carers_Identifies

Identifies young carers.

Icon_Young Carers_Offers support

Offers support services to young carers and their families.

ICon_Young Carers_Reduces exclusion

Reduces social exclusion for young carers.

Icon_Young Carers_Reduces problems

Reduces physical, emotional and social problems among young carers.

Icon_Young carers_Raises awareness

Raises awareness about the issue of young carers amongst health, education, social work and leisure agencies.

What young carers do

Young carers frequently do everything adult carers do, including:

  • Household chores

    For example: cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing, shopping, budgeting for the household – e.g. for rent, bills, food.

  • Nursing responsibilities

    For example: administering medication, giving injections, changing dressings.

  • Intimate personal care

    For example: bathing, toileting, washing.

  • Providing emotional support

Many young carers are trying to juggle these responsibilities along with school work, exams, trying to have a social life and, for older young carers, experiencing the emotional roller-coaster of adolescence.

Statistics for Northern Ireland

  • 1 in 6 people are a carer

  • There are over 8000 young carers

  • The average age of a young carer is 12

Frequently asked questions

  • Our project supports young carers from the age of 5 to 23.

  • To refer someone to our young carers project:

  • In short, anyone! From relatives to teachers, social workers to young carers themselves – anyone can refer.

  • Currently we have support workers in the following areas: Belfast, North Down & Ards, Newcastle, Castlewellan, Downpatrick, Ballynahinch, Killyleagh, Saintfield, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Carrick, Larne, Ballymena, Magherafelt and Ballymoney.

  • We endeavour to provide support for young carers as soon as we are able to, although there are a number of factors that affect how quickly a young carer gets support from Crossroads:

    • Funding – availability of funds to start a new outing or activity
    • Priority – nature of the young carers situation will affect their priority level
    • Age – age profile of the young carer and matching them with peers of a similar age
    • Location – availability of a support worker in the same area

  • We primarily provide social support as our young carers meet others in similar situations, through outings e.g. cinema, bowling, games nights, walks etc. We also have get-togethers to help meet other young carers and workshops to equip young carers with different skills.

  • We support young carers from once a month to quarterly.

  • There are lots of ways you can help support our work with young carers. The nature of our work with young carers means we don’t have young carer volunteers, but there are plenty of ways you can help us:

    • Run a Workshop – if you are able to help us run a skills workshop, e.g. classes in photography, woodwork, crafts etc. please get in touch. Email: or Call: 028 91814455
    • Fundraise – raise funds for our work through sponsored runs, bake sales etc. Click here to receive our fundraising pack and view more inspirational ideas for how to fundraise.
    • Donate – support our work financially by donating.
    • Charity of the Year – if you work for a business or organisation, please consider nominating Crossroads Young Carers as your chosen charity. Supporting us through profiling or fundraising events.

  • If you would like more details about our young carers project, please get in touch. Email: or Call: 028 91814455.

  • Our support workers take our young carers out on social outings each month. These positions are advertised in the Jobs section of our website.

Contact us

If you’d like to look at specific contact details, head over to our contact page, otherwise you can send us a message below and we will get back to you.

    Sign up for our newsletter for regular updates from us