YOUNGSTERS who carry out caring roles at home are being giving a much-needed break by a monthly social club.

The charity South Lakeland Carers (SLC) provides a support group to give children the chance to have a break from their caring role and enjoy some ‘free time’ to have fun with friends.

The social club, which is held on the last Monday of every month, is an opportunity for boys and girls, aged between eight and 12, to meet other children who also care for their siblings or parents who are ill or have a disability.

Fourteen-year-old Zoe Tanner, who is now a volunteer for the charity, admitted she had seen ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ as a carer for her siblings.

“I can relate to what these young carers are going through,” she said. “I know how looking after someone else can be a handful.

“My life at home has affected me in many ways but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

The Westmorland Gazette’s Give Them a Break campaign aims to raise £20,000 to give people who voluntarily care for a loved-one, relative or friend much-needed respite.

It could be a day of activity, such as an adventure trip, a spa break, walking with a fell guide or a one-night dinner and bed and breakfast stay at a Lake District hotel.

Nicola Nelson, a Young Carers Support Worker for SLC, said the group was there to provide one-to-one support for the children as well as offering outdoor activities.

She also said it was very rewarding to see how the charity was making a positive difference to the young carers.

“Many long-term friendships and support networks have been formed between the families they look after because of our support groups,” she said.

Bethany Taylor, aged 11, and Rebecca Fisher, aged nine, who are both young carers, quickly became very good friends through the club.

“I’m the only person in my school who has a sibling that has a disability,” Bethany said.

“So it’s really nice to come here and have a break with friends who go through the same thing as you, otherwise I would just bottle it up and that’s not good.”

The Gazette’s appeal is also seeking to encourage people to volunteer as counsellors or as sitters so that it could allow some carers to have a three-hour break each month.

To donate to the campaign, complete the coupon below and return it to Mike Addison, Give Them a Break, The Westmorland Gazette, 1 Wainwright’s Yard, Kendal, LA94DP.

Make cheques payable to ‘Give Them a Break’. You can also visit