A carer is someone who provides unpaid help and support to a relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without that help due to frailty, long term illness (including mental health), disability or substance misuse issues.

A young carer is an individual under the age of 18 whose life is in some way restricted because of providing unpaid care. Young carers are a vulnerable group as they are more likely to miss school, be bullied, have poor mental health, have lower educational attainment, struggle financially, and be NEET (not be in education, employment or training).


  • It is estimated that there are 36,621 Carers in Wakefield District; of which approximately 6,500 are known to services.
  • Carers UK suggest that, nationally, Carers save the economy £132 billion per year; this translates to Carers being worth over £700 million in Wakefield.
  • There are estimated to be 700,000 young carers in the UK, equating to 1 in 12 young people.
  • An estimated 1 in 8 people in the UK are Carers
  • 1 in 5 people aged 50-64 are Carers.
  • The number of Carers in the UK is rising, and it is predicted that 3 in 5 people will become Carers at some point in their lives.
  • There are 4.27 million Carers of working age living in the UK (57% women; 43% men).
  • Approximately 2.3 million people in the UK have given up work in order to care for a loved one, and nearly 3 million people have reduced their working hours.
  • Carers providing higher levels of care are more than twice as likely to suffer from poor health compared to people without caring responsibilities. These carers are at 23% higher risk of stroke.

The Population

At the last Census (2011), in Wakefield 2,586 children and young people (aged under 25 years) were recorded as being a Carer; this is 2.8% of the population aged 0-24 years. The proportion of Carers in Wakefield is higher than the average for England (2.5%) and the Yorkshire and the Humber region (2.5%), but this is not statistically signifcant. Data shows that the proportion of young carers in Wakefield has not changed much since the 2001 Census, when 2.7% of children and young people were recorded as Carers.

The roles and responsibilities that carers have to provide varies widely; ranging from help with everyday tasks including getting out of bed, and providing personal care such as bathing, to emotional support such as helping someone cope with the symptoms of a mental illness. Some carers, in particular younger carers, are not known to be carers. They often do not tell relatives, friends or health and care professionals about their responsibilities because of a fear of separation, guilt, pride or other reasons.

The map below shows the proportion of people providing unpaid care within the Wakefield District. The highest proportion of unpaid care is shaded blue. This shows that Carers are distributed throughout the District, and appear to be more concentrated in areas where the population is older.

The map below shows the proportion of carers who provide 50+ hours of unpaid care within the Wakefield District. The highest proportion of Carers providing 50+ hours of unpaid care (shaded blue) appears to be more prevalent within the more deprived areas of the District, including areas of Knottingley, Fitzwilliam and South Kirkby.

Comparing the two maps, there appears to be a disproportionate number of Carers providing high levels of unpaid care. In some areas of the District, although there are fewer people providing unpaid care, they are delivering more hours of care per week than in areas where there are a greater numbers of Carers.


The identification of carers is a significant public health challenge, as carers do not often separate the role from their usual relationship they have with the person they care for. This has implications for support and prevention services for carers, as they are difficult to target within the population.

Evidence suggests that Carers are less likely to access services such as healthcare and social support than the general population, due to a tendency to prioritise the needs of the person they care for above their own. The implication of this is that the health and wellbeing needs of Carers are not often met as they emerge, and often Carers will only seek support when this has worsened to the point where the Carer cannot provide their usual care to the person they care for and seeks professional support for the person.

Carers of all ages have an increased likelihood of poor mental health, for example young Carers are 50% more likely than their peers to report poor emotional health. This is similar across the adult Carer population, and the likelihood of mental health problems increases with the amount of care provided. Carers are also at a higher risk of physical health problems, and often delay seeking healthcare (including tests and procedures) until a health problem requires emergency attention.

The Inequalities

There are a number of health inequalities between Carers and the general population who do not have caring responsibilities. This is notable among young Carers; 1 in 12 children in the UK are estimated to be young carers with an average age of 12 years old. Approximately 39% of young carers reported that nobody in school was aware of their caring role despite young Carers being 1.5 times more likely to have a special educational need or disability than their peers. Additionally, an estimated 68% of young carers said they were bullied in school, due to their caring role.


  • According to the 2011 census; there has been an 83% increase of young carers aged 5-7.
  • It has been recognised that young adult carers, aged between 16 and 18, are 50% more likely to be not in education, employment or training (NEET) than their peers.
  • It is noted that young carers are approximately 50% more likely to suffer with mental health problems, and
  • On average; it is reported that young carers miss 48 full or part days of schooling per year.

Local data from the 2015 Children’s Survey indicates that 15% of Year 5 pupils and 9% of Year 9 pupils care for someone in their home that has a serious illness or disability; 2% of primary pupils said that this caring role takes up more than two hours of their day. Pupils who reported that they were a carer were also more likely to report that they had tried smoking that they have been offered drugs, that they have tried drugs and that they have been bullied.

Further information on young carers collected in the Children’s Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire (HRBQ) can be found on the JSNA website, in the Children and Young People’s Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire results

Comparison to Other Local Authorities

Comparing Wakefield to other LA’s and England.
The below demonstrates the current position in Wakefield in relation to our Yorkshire and Humber neighbours across several of the key carer indicators. Wakefield is currently similar than the England average for many indicators (those indicators coloured yellow).
You can click on the “trends” option below to explore the trends in the various measures.

Source: Public Health England

Community Assets

Service Provision

Services for carers are offered by a number of organisations. Please see below for more details:

Wakefield Youth Work Team (WFYOUTH) coordinate and deliver a programme of high quality youth work for young people aged 11 and above to fully prepare them for adulthood; equipped with the personal and social skills to be valued and engaged as citizens, capable of making positive choices and accessing opportunities.

The ‘Wakefield Early Support Advice Information and Liaison Service’ offer support for families, including Young Carers, who are caring for a child or a young person, aged 0 to 25 years old, with special educational needs or a disability.

You will find lots of useful information within the Carers Wakefield & District website; they offer support and groups for Young Adult Carers aged 17 to 25.

Wakefield Councils’ Children First Hubs can help provide advice on Young Carers. Locations, opening times and contact details can be found below:

School Nursing offer health assessments for Young Carers: email for more information.


You can learn more about the services for Young Carers in Wakefield and the support that is offered to help alleviate pressures on mental health, including education and leisure opportunities HERE.

Young Carers Pathway – this document identifies what actions practitioners should take when they identify a young carer, and where to get additional support.

The Children and Families Act 2014

Carers Digital Resource


Young Carer

A child or young person under 18 with significant caring responsibilities; where they provide or intend to provide care for another person of any age, except where that care is paid for or carried out as voluntary work. For short and long term support (SALT), this refers to someone under 18 with significant caring responsibilities for an adult.


The definition of a carer is taken from the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, which utilises the following description: “Carers (aged 16 and over) who provide or intend to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for another individual aged 18 or over“. Although the Act only refers to carers aged 16 and over, younger carers of adults should be included in this return. The Act excludes from the definition of a carer, paid care workers and volunteers from a voluntary organisation.

It is possible for a client to have more than one carer, and for a carer to additionally be a client in his or her own right.

Carer Role

Indicator of client’s responsibilities for caring for another person, i.e. ‘carer’; or ‘not a carer’.