Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson is backing a charity’s campaign to ensure that young carers don’t miss out on vital support.

The Carers Trust’s Count Me In! campaign launches on Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday,  January 30. It calls on education providers to do more to identify young carers and ensure that they receive the recognition and help they deserve.

According to the charity, a recent study found that as many as one in five pupils in secondary school may be a young carer, helping to look after someone who is ill, disabled or struggling with substance misuse or addiction issues.

Pledging his support for the campaign, Mr Matheson said: “A lot has been done by the Scottish Government in recent years to ensure that young carers get better support and greater recognition for the immense contribution they make to our communities. This includes implementing the Carers (Scotland) Act, which enshrines carers’ rights, and introducing the Young Carer Grant.

“However, we know that there are many ‘hidden’ young carers, and staff in our schools and colleges can play a vital role in identifying these youngsters and making sure that they don’t miss out on the help that’s available.

“Being a young carer can take a physical and emotional toll, while also limiting social opportunities, but by identifying young carers as early as possible and offering them the support they deserve we can reduce the negative affect on their education and give them a fair chance to achieve their potential.”