Release Date: 6 Jul 2011

Five of the children's charity's young carers in the east Belfast area will benefit from the funding, which will be spent on helping them learn to drive.

Young carers are children and young people under 18 whose lives are restricted by the need to care for a person who has an illness, a disability or issues with their mental health or with drugs or alcohol.

Louise Warde Hunter, Action for Children Strategic Director of Children's Services in Scotland and Northern Ireland, said:

"So many children and young people in our society, who should be cared for, are having to do the caring. Their lives are torn between looking after the one they love so much and trying to get an education, get into employment, or get the sort of life we would want for all our young people. Quite often family circumstances mean there is not the spare cash to afford expensive driving lessons for these young people. Being able to drive will help them and their families gain increased independence.

"We'd like to thank George Best Belfast City Airport for this generous funding for which we are very grateful. Without it these young carers would have no other means of learning to drive. This will help make life for them and their families that little bit easier. They'll have the freedom to go where they want, when they want."

Ruth Morgan, Communications Executive at George Best Belfast City Airport, said:

"The 2011 census found that there are currently 175,000 young carers throughout the UK. This is a huge statistic and a massive responsibility for anyone of 18 years of age or less to take on daily.

"Due to the hidden nature of young caring many children and young people struggle with the burden of caring for an ill or disabled family member and try to cope alone without any support for themselves. Young carers often have to sacrifice opportunities that other young people have, including learning and socializing, to support a loved one.

"It was important to Belfast City Airport that our Community Fund was not only able to support the young carers, but also to raise awareness of the amazing jobs that these young people are taking on every day within our local community. These children should be congratulated and admired. We hope that the driving lessons will provide them with an opportunity for increased independence and we wish them every success."

To date the airport's Community Fund has contributed over £50,000 to local projects.

For further information on the Community Fund or to find out how your group can apply for funding please contact [email protected]

Young Carers Project

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