‘Hidden’ exhibition shines light on children caring for dads, mums and others

2 February 2015

Young carer Robert

I get up 5.15am to go and practice my skating at the local rink. Skating takes my mind off of everyday life. I also do wood carving, magic and I’m building a functioning Morgan sports car.

My dad has Huntington’s disease. This damages some of the nerve cells in the brain, and affects my dad’s memory, decision-making and personality. There is no cure for Huntington’s disease.

I have learnt a lot from my life and I think I have some understanding, even if it is only small, how sometimes in life things don’t go the way that we would see as practical and easy. But when they go differently, it makes us stronger and wiser as a person.

Hidden is a compelling portrait exhibition that tells the story of England’s young carers – including 14-year-old Robert, who looks after his dad.

The official figure of young carers in England is 166,000 – but this is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

Nobody knows for sure how many young carers are looking after their fathers – but we know that some young carers won’t be identified as such, because services in touch with their dads don’t ‘see’ their fatherhood and as a result won’t think about, or offer any support to, their children.

Hidden shines a light on young carers’ often invisible lives, where every day they face huge responsibilities and unimaginably difficult choices.

In this rare insight, young carers share their side of the story. They disclose challenging stories of shouldering overwhelming responsibilities that affect their well-being and education. Yet these are also stories of hope and courage, of children who have spoken up and created major change in schools, the health service and Parliament.

Award-winning photographer and former young carer Max Alexander captures their resilience, determination and dreams for the future.

The Hidden exhibition will take place at the Oxo Tower Gallery on London’s South Bank, from 11-22 February, 11am – 6pm. Admission is free. Find out more.

Led by The Children’s Society, Hidden is part of The Big Lottery funded Young Carers in Focus partnership programme (YCiF), of which the Fatherhood Institute is part.

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