The case study featured below outlines just one of the many cases that the RNRMC has helped fund. A Young Carer’s Story details the life of 10-year-old, Billy – a fulltime carer for his mother and siblings. Billy’s father has served in the Royal Navy for the past 13 years and is often away often on deployment for extended periods of time. This case study was received directly from charity and the interview was produced and written by KIDS.

Case Study

A Young Carer’s Story

Billy is 10 and comes from a Naval family. His mother suffers from long-term depression and her mental health deteriorates when Dad is deployed. Billy has two brothers, aged six and five with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 Billy first became known to us in early 2017 through our partnership with the charity KIDS. The charity runs Early Help Hubs, which aim to assist families before they reach crisis point. Billy was taking on a lot of the care of his two brothers as well as his mother while Dad was at sea, whilst also ensuring that household chores were being completed. Billy has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which made making sense of everything that was going on around him very difficult. This had started making him angry, which manifested itself as increasingly difficult behaviour.

When Billy first started attending KIDS Young Carers Group, he was very nervous and would not speak about his family or home life, finding it difficult to listen to others and not wanting to participate in activities. 

After the initial settling in period and having listened to other young carers speak about their own situation, he started opening up to staff and his peers, sharing that sometimes Mum feels sad, his brothers are annoying and that when Dad is away he tries not to worry about him because he knows the rest of the family will worry more. Once he started speaking, KIDS were able to identify activities and techniques that could help him at home.

During support sessions, KIDS do a range of activities tailored to a range of different needs. Activities that have specifically helped Billy have included: making worry boxes to express worries in different ways; anger management activities and learning different ways to let out frustration; and puppet playmaking up stories about fictional young carers and their issues.

Making activities fun whilst exploring caring issues with younger children is important as it not only supports them through the stress and anxiety that the responsibility of being a young carer can bring about but also affords them with some much needed time out.

Mum said that she wanted Billy not to feel like he had to be at home to help the others all the time. She wanted him to have his own identity and to make friends - all of which Billy has achieved through KIDS Young Carers. Billy likes going to Young Carer’s Group and has never missed a single one. He has developed friendships over the year and speaks about looking forward to trips out.

The RNRMC has provided almost £200,000 to KIDS over the past five years to enable them to provide this specialist, practical support for other service children like Billy and give them opportunities to play and learn, spend time with other young carers and share experiences.

KIDS is one of 28 different charities we partnered within 2017 to improve the lives of sailors, marines and their families.