Getting help and support

If you are a young carer, you might need more information and support. Here are some places you can go:

  • Support groups – give you a chance to meet other young carers. Your school, college or local council may have one, or you can set up your own group.
  • Young carers’ projects – offer a chance to have a break from caring. You can talk to other young carers and get information and support.
  • A social worker – might be able to help with practical and financial problems. They also make sure you are protected and supported at home.
  • Voluntary organisations and charities – can give you advice, information and support about cancer and being a carer.
  • Online forums – are a good place to talk to other young carers. But make sure you are safe when using them. Always tell a responsible adult if you are using a forum and don’t give out personal information.
  • Help with money – if you or your family are struggling with money, there is help available. You might be able to get a benefit from the government called Carer’s Allowance.

Where can you go for help and support?

When you are looking after someone with cancer, you might not be sure how to get information about cancer, or about being a young carer. When you search the internet, you can often end up on unhelpful websites that give you no information.

This is why some young carers start up their own support groups, often through school or college, or a young carers’ service. It’s a good way to share information, and to help each other cope with the different feelings you are having. There is always someone to talk to, including other young people who are going through something similar to you and who will understand.

Young people looking after someone with cancer

Hear June, CAST Macmillan Young Carers Schools Coordinator, and young carers discuss the challenges young carers face and the importance of getting support.

About our cancer information videos

Young people looking after someone with cancer

Hear June, CAST Macmillan Young Carers Schools Coordinator, and young carers discuss the challenges young carers face and the importance of getting support.

About our cancer information videos


Support groups

Support groups are a really good way to relax and chill out. They give you a chance to meet up with other young people like you – people who understand you and will be there for you on the bad days as well as the good ones.

Your school or college may already have a support group. Or your local council might have set one up. Ask around, or look online to see if there is one in your area. You might be nervous at first, but support groups aren’t scary – lots of young carers find that they are good fun. You might want to talk about cancer, but you will probably end up chatting about all sorts of things.

If there isn’t a support group that you can go to locally, you can set one up. Macmillan can help you start your own support group, with advice, training and funding.

You could also encourage your school to set up a support group. Your teachers can get help doing this from the Carers Trust website.


Young carers' projects

These projects are run by young carer workers. They can offer:

  • a chance for you to have a break and do something fun
  • the chance to talk to other young carers
  • the chance to speak with someone who will listen to you and who is on your side
  • help, information and advice for your whole family.

Go to youngcarer.com/young-carers-services to find a young carers' project near you.


Social workers

A social worker is someone who helps people sort out their practical and financial problems. Not everyone has a social worker, but your family might have been given one. This might be to help you all cope with looking after someone who has cancer. Social workers can give you lots of information. If you have any questions or worries, you can talk to them.

Your social worker is there to make sure that, as a young person, you are being protected and supported at home.

The law says that any young carer or their family can ask for a local social worker to visit them and do a young carer’s assessment.


Voluntary organisations and charities

There are lots of charities in the UK that can help you, whatever your situation.

These are some cancer charities that can help:

  • Macmillan Cancer Support offers practical, emotional and financial help for anyone affected by cancer, including young people and carers.
  • Cancer Research UK is trying to find the causes of cancer. It can give you lots of information about different types of cancer.
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care gives free nursing care to people with cancer at home.

There are also charities for particular types of cancer.

There are charities just for young people, like the Children’s Society. And there are charities that support you and your family, such as Family Action.

Charities like Carers Trust and Carers UK are there for anyone who looks after someone who is ill or disabled.

Some other organisations that offer support for young carers are:

Action for Children

Barnardo's

Carers Direct (helpline 0300 123 1053)

Crossroads Caring for Carers (Northern Ireland)

Crossroads Caring Scotland


Online forums

Many young people communicate online, and this can be a good way to talk to people who are in a similar situation to you. But it is important to always stay safe and use secure online forums.

Here are some things you should do to make sure you are safe:

  • Tell a responsible adult which forums you use and who you talk to.
  • Tell someone if you are feeling unsure or uneasy about anything.
  • Don’t use your real name – make up a nickname instead.
  • Don’t give out personal information, for example which school you go to or where you live.
  • Remember that it is not a good idea to meet someone that you have met in a forum – they may not be who they say they are.
  • Remember that, even though it’s great to offer support to others as well as get support yourself, you can leave a forum or take a break whenever you need to.

Your school should be able to give you more information about staying safe online.

Joining an online forum can put you in touch with lots of people who are in the same situation as you. Some examples are:

The best things about forums are that you:

  • can be anonymous
  • can dip in and out when you want to
  • don’t have to tell people anything you don’t want to
  • don’t have to use them at set times
  • can make new online friends.


Cancer and money issues

When someone has an illness like cancer, it can affect how much money everyone in the family has. The person who is ill may have to stop working for a while. Other people in the family may also have to stop working, or work less, so that they can be carers. We have more information about work and cancer if you are a young carer.

There can also be extra costs from things like travelling to hospital. These changes to the family can affect you if you are a young carer. But there is help available if you or your family are having money problems because of cancer. We have more information about financial help if you are a carer, including a benefit called Carer’s Allowance.

Back to Young people looking after someone with cancer

Being a young carer

A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who looks after someone who is ill.

Young carer's assessment

Any young carer can have a young carer’s assessment to find out what help you and your family might need.