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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 19:24 GMT
Boy carer to lose only support
Sally Moffatt and her son Sam
A cuddle for Sam from his mum who has depression and agoraphobia
A nine-year-old boy who cares for his mother and helps look after his three small siblings will lose his only support when a local group closes.

Sam Moffatt, of Letheringsett, Norfolk, is a full-time carer for his mother, Sally, 29.

She suffers from depression and agoraphobia and has not left the house for more than 12 months.

Sam also helps to care for his two sisters, six-year-old Kerenza and Liberty, two, and one-year-old Zebedee.

The youngster is taught at home by his mother.

Sam's support comes from North Norfolk Family Outreach Project, which helps young carers, but this is closing in March.

We get told that things will be good soon and when we're feeling bad there is someone to talk to
Sam Moffatt

The project allows young carers to play with other children in a similar position.

"We know that we're not the only children. We get told that things will be good soon and when we're feeling bad there is someone to talk to," Sam said.

Brian Butcher, of Norfolk Children's Fund, which funds the project, said the group would like to provide funding, but had lost government grants.

"We will try to support them in getting money from other sources, but we can only spend in Norfolk the money that we have available from central government and it's been reduced," he said.

The government is cutting funding to projects for carers nationally from 3.1m in 2003 to 2.1m in 2004.

Sam, aged nine, with Zebedee, aged one and Liberty, aged two
Sam looks after one-year-old Zebedee and Liberty, two (right)
Sam is one of 28,853 children across the UK between five and 11 who are carers, according to the UK National Census.

This figure rises to 175,000 for carers aged under 18.

David Todd, of Norwich and District Carers Forum, said: "They're expected to carry a big emotional burden at such a young age."

Young carers could face other social problems in later life if they did not recognise the difficulties they faced in early life, he said.

North Norfolk Family Outreach Project's manager Sarah Green-Plumb said: " We especially regret the withdrawal of a much-needed preventative family support service for the children and families of North Norfolk.

"We are currently trying to find alternative agencies to provide support for local children and families, and to continue to run the Young Carers group for children aged seven to 11 years living in North Norfolk."

Child, six, in carer's role
14 Jun 02  |  Wales

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