Pools star Gary Liddle called in to Rossmere Youth Centre last week to surprise guests at a party to celebrate Young Carers Awareness Day.
The on-loan defender popped along to meet the dedicated young carers in attendance, many of whom are massive Pools fans and were delighted to see him.
There are currently 200 young carers aged between 5 and 17 registered with Hartlepool Carers, though estimates are there could be up to 2,000 youngsters who are also caring for a family member due to illness, disability or drug or alcohol misuse.
Recent research has shown that one in five secondary school pupils may be a young carer – and statistics suggest that their caring journey begins at a much younger age.
Thursday 30th January marked this year’s Young Carers Awareness Day, with the target being to raise awareness of the challenges they face and to campaign for greater support for them.
“A common problem is that many young carers do not recognise their caring role for what it and therefore don’t access the support that is available to them,” explained Sarah Rowntree, Hartlepool Carers’ Community Engagement Officer.
“During the run up to Young Carers Awareness Day we have attended various schools and colleges to speak to pupils and staff about young carers in the town, while one of our young carers also went on Radio Hartlepool to talk about her experiences.
“To celebrate the fantastic work of the young carers in the town, we threw a party where there was plenty of fun and dancing – and plenty of pizza too!
“It was brilliant that Gary gave up some of his time to come along and join us – I think it went down well with the Pools fans in the room and hopefully helps us keep spreading the message.”
Liddle spent time signing autographs and posing for pictures with guests at the event, though the significance of the day and his visit was not lost on the Pools centre-back.
“It was great to see the children having a good time and getting the opportunity for some respite from the responsibilities they have at home,” he commented.
“I don’t think many people realise that is help out there for all young carers so hopefully more come forward to take advantage of that support from Hartlepool Carers.”
For more information on Hartlepool Carers you can call 01429 283 095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org