Fife teenagers who spent much of their childhood caring for their parents have shared a poignant message of hope.
Chloe Smith, Logan Maclean, Maja Meldrum and Bethany Brock all took on caring duties from a young age.
And while it meant they took on roles normally done by adults, the young carers are keen to highlight the skills they learned along the way.
Despite their extra responsibilities, they share the same dreams as many of their classmates and are looking forward to living happy and fulfilling lives.
They are also urging future employers to view their caring roles as an asset in the workplace.
Their video has been released as part of Tuesday’s Young Carers Action Day, an annual event led by the Carers Trust.
It raises awareness and calls for action to increase support for young people with caring responsibilities.
This year’s theme is Protecting Young Carers’ Futures.
It draws attention to the skills and experiences learned by children and young people who care for others.
A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after a family member, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition or misuses drugs or alcohol.
What might a young carer do?
- Practical tasks, like cooking, housework and shopping.
- Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed.
- Emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed.
- Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
- Manage the family budget and collect prescriptions
- Look after brothers and sisters.
Set to the soundtrack of Lukas Graham’s hit Once I Was Seven Years Old, Chloe, Logan, Maja and Bethany hold up signs outlining the responsibilities they took on in childhood.
Chloe tells how at just seven she was dealing with her dad’s depression, schizophrenia and alcoholism.
At 11, she found him having seizures and he died just a few weeks later.
Logan, meanwhile, saved his mum’s life after school when he was seven.
Four years later he came home to a kitchen fire.
All four expect to be in university, college or training by the time they are 20.
And they hope to still be talking about their ambitions in 10 years time.
They offer advice to their seven-year-old selves, with Logan stating: “You can achieve anything you want.”
He added: “The carers action day is a way of raising awareness for young carers, showing the importance of what we do and how it affects us.
“Young carers gain a variety of fantastic skills that can allow for them to become a valuable asset to a future employer.”
Support from Fife Young Carers
The action day is supported by Fife Young Carers.
Development worker Amber Reid said: “To us, every day is Young Carers Action Day.
“But campaigns such as this draw attention to the skills, experiences and issues young carers face.
“It is estimated that carers, both children and adults, save about £10.8 billion in resources every year across Britain.
“That is why is is so important that they are supported, recognised and respected within their roles.
“As we highlight all the wonderful work that has been happening to support young carers, we hope this will inspire other sectors and organisations to do the same.
“We believe everyone can do something to help protect young carers’ futures.”