Be Free Impact Carers


Be Free Young Carers (BFYC) is an Oxfordshire charity, based on Harwell Campus, that works with young carers aged 8 to 24 across the South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse Districts.

BFYC is the only specialist organisation supporting young carers in Oxfordshire and currently is supporting over 550 young carers. In the Vale and South Oxfordshire area it is estimated there are 3,000 young carers, on average, 2 in every classroom.

BFYC was establish in 1994 and supports young carers offering emotional and practical advice they need to manage the stresses and responsibilities of being a young carer, balancing their caring role with school and with the developmental needs of a child. 

BFYC addresses these needs by offering young carers:

  • emotional support and befriending - meeting with young carers to talk through their concerns, working with schools and families to help to alleviate isolation, anxiety and stress that so many young carers experience;
  • social activities - time for themselves away from their caring roles, to make friends, and have fun;
  • young carers leisure card - discounted pay and play activities at local leisure centres;
  • training - in key skills such as first aid, relaxation and cookery/nutrition to improve their self-confidence and ability to cope in their caring roles.

Respite, relaxation and social interaction are vital for young carers to improve their self-esteem and confidence. Many young carers find caring for a family member very stressful often describing their lives as isolated, alone, with few or no friends. They are more likely to be bullied at school, more likely to suffer from depression, are at risk of self-harming, and are vulnerable to substance abuse, grooming and sexual exploitation. Many fail to achieve academically, struggling to balance schoolwork and their caring responsibilities.

Project Aim

To assess the impact of the support BFYC offers young carers and the effect COVID-19 has had/is having on the mental wellbeing of the young carers BFYC supports.

Your role:

  1. Devise and deliver a research strategy to engage young carers, their families and local school representatives, perhaps through circulated or online questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, ensuring a statistical high level of engagement and response.
  2. Analyse responses and produce a report on findings, drawing on any other recently published research
  3. Work closely with the BFYC staff and volunteer team and be supervised by BFYC Director
  4. Engage with young carers and their families to research, assess and report on:
  • the difference the support offered by BFYC is making/has made to their wellbeing;
  • the impact of COVID-19 on the mental wellbeing of young carers and their outlook;
  • Make recommendations on future service delivery and development.

You will:

  • undertake an enhanced DBS check, attend safeguard training and provide references prior to commencing your engagement.
  • work with sensitive client information displaying a high level of confidentiality.
  • need your own transport.

Expected outcomes:

  1. A report on findings with recommendations
  2. Presentation of findings to the BFYC Board of Trustees (There may be other opportunities to present this research dependent upon conference events taking place.)

Special Opportunities:

  • Collaborative work with BFYC staff and representatives of other organisations;
  • Contact with researchers at University of East Anglia;
  • Presentation of findings to the Youth in Mind conference in early 2021, to be confirmed;
  • Presentation of findings to All Party Parliamentary Group on Young Carers, to be confirmed.
  • The background to the project (aims/current stage of development)
  • The specific contribution of the intern e.g. daily tasks, responsibilities
  • Who the intern will be working with and supervised by
  • Expected outcomes and deliverables e.g. reports, presentations, exhibitions, contributions to a broader initiative
  • Special opportunities e.g. travel, attendance at conferences, collaborative work with other teams


3 to 6 months (FT or PT), starting in the end of October/beginning on November 2020.

Applicant profile

Essential skills

Good analytical skills

Enquiring, wanting to understand why

Self-motivated but able to work as a member of a team

Able to work on your own or with colleagues

Able to prioritise your workload and meet deadlines for reporting

Excellent time management                                

Excellent computer skills in using Office 365

Caring, positive and friendly

Understanding of and comfortable with youth culture

Willing to work out of hours when necessary

Desirable skills

Experience of working with young people

Awareness of the issues young carers face