A former Buckie High School pupil, John Thain helps care for his mother Susan and 11-year-old brother Conor at their family home in the town – and somehow still manages to find time to continue his studies as well as serve as one of Moray’s two members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP).
It is through the SYP that John is leading the charge for a better deal for Scotland’s young carers, urging the Scottish Government to address anomalies in the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) that results in many young carers losing their entitlement.
While it costs John £5 daily to travel to Elgin for his college studies in Social Sciences he does not qualify for EMA.
Through the SYP’s ‘Care.Fair.Share.’ campaign, John is also seeking additional funding and bursary opportunities for young carers, many of who struggle to afford further education due to their responsibilities as carers.
John said: “Young carers are a hidden group of young people in society with a very specific set of circumstances and challenges.
“With an estimated 100,000 unpaid young carers in Scotland, they represent a considerable percentage of the total number of young people in Scotland.
“Yet, in many cases, these young people face extremely challenging financial conditions and often have to make difficult compromises; compromises that the rest of us do not have to make.
“The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people and has launched a campaign to alleviate these difficult financial conditions. The campaign was designed, and will be rolled out by, elected young people.
“‘Care.Fair.Share.’ aims to improve the financial conditions for young carers by campaigning for fairer policies and practices, including around issues such as the EMA, funding for further and higher education and fairer prices on public transport.
“The members of the Scottish Youth Parliament in Moray will be rolling out the campaign over the coming months.”
Further information on the Care.Fair.Share. campaign can be found online while you can follow John on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JohnThainMSYP or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/john.thain3?fref=ts