JLS's Oritsť meets Britain's Youngest Carers in new C4 documentary
Channel 4 has commissioned a one-off documentary fronted by Oritsé Williams, founding member of boyband JLS, titled Britain’s Youngest Carers. In the 1x60’ programme Oritsé will meet young carers from across the UK who take care of their parents on a daily basis, as well as experts who work with these young people to help them cope in a situation that can be a huge strain.
When Oritsé was twelve years old his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he became her carer. With first-hand experience of being a young carer, Oritsé knows exactly what the young people he will meet are going through every day.
Official figures show that around 200,000 children in the UK are caring for their parents, but experts believe this could be as high as 700,000 and the last census showed that the biggest age group increase in young carers was with children under 7 years old. Oritsé will witness this for himself when he meets a 6 year old boy who cares for his mother, helping out with daily chores that most six years olds would not even think of doing, as she suffers from a series of health problems that some days mean she can hardly move.
Oritsé will meet teenage carers, who once they are home from school, take care of their parents before being able to socialise with friends or completing their homework. The programme also features expert Professor Saul Becker, who has advised the government on the need to provide more support to child carers in Britain, as he provides Oritsé with the hard facts and figures about young carers in the UK today.
Britain’s Youngest Carers was commissioned for Channel 4 by Ade Rawcliffe, through the Alpha Fund – which is aimed at developing and supporting ideas from new and diverse creative talent. The documentary will be produced and directed by Paul Blake for Maroon Productions with producer Victor Chimara and executive producer Liz Mills. It will air on Channel 4 later in 2014.
Of the commission Ade said: “The statistics about the number of young carers in Britain today are devastating and through his experience of being a young carer himself, Oritsè authoring his first documentary, was able to bring an authentic voice to stories rarely told in the mainstream media.”
Oritsé added: “I wanted to make this film on Britain's Young Carers to bring awareness to the public after feeling isolated as a young carer myself. In this programme I expose the unknown.”