Campaign to Support Young Carers: #Supermarkets4Change

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have started a campaign on the issue of supermarket access for young carers and young adult carers during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.  This campaign has been set up by Ilse Cuthbertson MSYP, Carers Trust Scotland and Aaran McDonald MSYP, Cunninghame South.

During lockdown, a significant and recurring issue raised by young carers is that some are still not getting access to supermarkets during protected hours set aside for vulnerable groups.

Young carers are facing age discrimination and refusal to access if they are accompanied by family members.  One young person got in touch with their MSYP,

“After waiting in the long queue, a member of staff said they were only allowing 2 people into the store per family.

“After explaining I am a young carer, the staff member still couldn’t understand why there needed to be two carers.

“I had to further explain my caring responsibilities for my brother and mum before the member of staff finally allowed us in.

“This was an emotional and frustrating situation and no young carer should need to go through this.”

There is also inconsistency of messaging by supermarkets across the UK, and even from store to store.  Furthermore, a number of carers are struggling to get access to online shopping or difficulty meeting the minimum expenditure for online shopping. This issue also intertwines with carer identification.

#Supermarkets4Change aims to raise awareness of unpaid carers with local supermarkets and to include these young people in the protected hours set aside for vulnerable groups.

MSYPs have written to local supermarket stores on behalf of their constituents, raising awareness of who young carers are, and why it is important to include these young people in dedicated shopping times.

“We wanted to start #Supermarkets4Change as young carers and young adult carers have been approaching us due to the lack of understanding within supermarkets. We have learnt that this is not just an issue locally but nationally. This is an extremely important issue right now. We hope that supermarkets will start to understand the role that a young carer or young adult carer has” Ilse Cuthbertson, MSYP and Aaran McDonald, MSYP.

This campaign also aims to empower young people to take action.  MSYPs have created a template letter and are sharing this with as many young people as possible.

Download: supermarkets4change letter template

If a young person is aware of this issue in their local community, they can use this template to write to the local store manager. Young people are encouraged to share this on social media using the hashtag #Supermarkets4Change so we can raise greater awareness!

Young people can also get in touch with Ilse and Aaran for greater support on this:

Keep up to date with the campaign on social media:

@ReleaseCap/ @CarersTrustScot/ @ilsecmsyp / @MSYPAaran/ #Supermarkets4Change