Case Study – Edinburgh Young Carers

Edinburgh Young Carers


Edinburgh Young Carers (EYC) were established in 1994 as a community development project in North East Edinburgh and with support from the local authority and National Lottery Charities Board, and we then expanded in 1996 to provide support to young carers from across Edinburgh. We became incorporated as a Not for Profit, Company Limited by Guarantee in 2000.

Edinburgh Young Carers is one of the most well established and largest organisations in Scotland dedicated to working with and supporting young and young adult carers.


At Edinburgh Young Carers we are dedicated to improving the lives of young carers and young adult carers aged 5-20 throughout the city. We recognise that the circumstances vary enormously from family to family and as a result aim to tailor the support of each young person accordingly.

Within EYC we have a Schools Awareness project, counselling services and a specialist Drug and Alcohol support team. Each age group also has a dedicated development worker who works with the young people and their families to meet their individual needs. This can be on a 1:1 basis through respite groups and on residential breaks or through working alongside external support agencies.

  • 1:1 support gives young people the chance to spend time with a trusted adult and work through some of the issues associated with their caring role.
  • Respite groups give young people the opportunity to make friends, access peer support and most importantly; young carers get much needed ‘time-out’ to just be a young person.
  • In addition to 1:1 support and group work, young carers also have the opportunity to attend residential breaks. This can range from city breaks in London to Stargazing in the Scottish island of Coll. Opportunities range depending on the age, needs and interests of the group.

As well as supporting the young people ourselves, we also aim to signpost families to the most relevant information and support services across Edinburgh. We work hard to build awareness of young carers and young adult carers and support other organisations in what they can do to help.


Key observations:

Edinburgh Young Carers currently support 157 young people aged 5 to 20. At present, 37% of our young people are under 12, 36% within the 12-15 age group and 27% are 16 plus.

One of our key findings in terms of gender equality is that we have observed a substantial gender split with the young people we support. Statistically, 67% of the young carers accessing EYC are female and only 32% male, with 1% identifying as transgender. The gender split is even more prominent within the 16+ service, with 80% of young adult carers being female and only 20% male.

We have also found that the uptake of our counselling spaces highlights a significant difference between genders, with the majority of places being taken up by girls and young women. Although this could be a reflection on the stigma of accessing counselling for boys and young men, it could also be a result of the expectations for females (over males) to take on the caring role in some families. Therefore, female young carers may be more likely to require counselling.

Another area which we have identified to be different for male and female young carers is the high proportion of females who are encouraged to move onto study and work in Child Care and Care professions in comparison to males. This highlights that the young women we work with are not always encouraged to widen their skill set and access more STEM based career paths.

Equality for the young people within our service is something we consider to be paramount. We work with them in a number of ways to combat gender inequality, both one-to-one and as a group. We currently run a weekly Girls’ group, which supports young women to develop confidence and self esteem. Within this group we regularly work on identifying positive role models, how to keep themselves safe and maintain a healthy wellbeing. One of the main aims of this group is to support the young women to be confident in challenging any gender stereotypes which they may face in wider society.


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This is a video we made for the Young Carers Statements: