As young people in Wiltshire are receiving their A level and GCSE results and planning their futures, Carer Support Wiltshire are highlighting the barriers that many young adult carers face as they transition into adulthood.

Young adult carers are those aged between 16 and 25-years-old who care for someone – usually a parent or sibling.

Some will have been carers since they were children. According to Carers Trust data, young adult carers aged between 16 and 18-years-old are twice as likely to not be in education, employment or training (NEET), while 56 per cent of those in college or university are struggling because of their caring role.

Andrea James is Young Adult Carer Support Worker at Carer Support Wiltshire.

She says: “Many young adult carers feel they can’t go onto higher education. They don’t know who will look after their loved one.

"We can help make that path to university much easier, for example by helping apply for student finance, assisting with the cost of attending open days and liaising with the university to make sure they will be supported once they get there.”

Hannah Shearman, 20, from Chippenham is currently studying special effects make up for film and TV at The University of Bolton.

She grew up doing everything for her mum, who has learning difficulties. She had to make sure her mum got dressed, did the shopping, cleaning and cooking and left notes around the house reminding her mum how things worked.

“I always knew I was different to other kids – they had different relationships with their parents than I did. I shut myself out so people thought I was fine and didn’t know what was going on. It wasn’t until I was at sixth form that I was able to say ‘I’m not really okay. I need some help’. That’s when Carer Support Wiltshire became involved, and Andrea, and when things started to get better.”

Ms James said: “We are so proud of Hannah and of the young adult carers we support who are presently studying to become teachers, mental health nurses, social workers, lawyers, actors, artists, musicians and historians, to name a few. It’s not easy to balance studying and caring, but these young people are extra special.”

For information or advice, or to register with Carer Support Wiltshire as a carer, call 0800 181 4118 or visit