YOUNG carers are under more pressure than their peers as they return to school.

They are worried about keeping their vulnerable family members safe from coronavirus while still trying to catch up on their education.

Maisie - her name has been changed to protect her identity - is 18-years-old and takes care of her mum who has been left partially paralysed after having a stroke.

The teenager returned to Trowbridge College last week and said she usually feels different to her friends but more so now than ever.

She said: “I have been shielding with my mum and only recently started to go out a bit. It’s been nice to get out and see friends but also scary as a lot of people are acting totally normally and not physically distancing.

“As soon as the pubs opened, my friends went out drinking. I haven’t been to a pub or into Bath yet and I don’t want to, even though it was my 18th birthday recently. I’d be worried about what I’m touching and feel like the odd-one out, and I don’t want to make my friends all sit outside if they want to go inside.

“In college I’m wearing a mask in the classroom even though we only have to wear them in the communal areas like the canteen and corridors. I’m worried about going back – I feel like we’re being used a bit as guinea pigs – but I’m excited to go back too. I almost don’t want to get too comfortable though and forget the dangers.

“If I get Coronavirus then I get it, but I want to know that I’ve done everything I can to protect my mum. I’m 18, I’ve got loads of time ahead of me to go out and have fun when all this is over.”

Young carers are more likely to be absent from school, report a reduced sense of well-being and self-esteem, more likely to be bullied and attain lower grades than the average non young carer.

A recent UK survey by Carers Trust found that 67 per cent of young carers (under 18 years of age) and 78 per cent of young adult carers (aged 18-25yrs) are more worried about the future since Coronavirus.

And 69 per cent of both young and young adult carers said they now felt less connected to others.

Carers Trust and Carer Support Wiltshire are working with schools and colleges to help them identify younger carers and support them at this time – encouraging for example flexible schoolwork deadlines and offering young adult carers mental health resilience and peer support sessions.

Carer Support Wiltshire can help to signpost to the relevant organisations and can be contacted on 0800 181 4118.