A young carer since the age of 11, Jodie Williams has devoted much of her time to looking after her mother, and has still managed to graduate from Edge Hill University today with a First Class Honours degree.

Sociology graduate, Jodie, grew up in South Wales and at the age of 11 years old started caring for her mother who suffered with a number of health problems. However as she started secondary school, her mother’s health deteriorated and Jodie became her full-time carer.

“For me, the decision to start studying at University was a very big one to make,” said Jodie. “Not only did I have to consider myself, but I had to consider whether my mother would manage if I moved away.

“It was a big change for me to move away from my family and not be able to offer face to face support for my mother, after having been a continuous source of strength for my family. Fortunately, my father was able to undertake some of the caring responsibilities which allowed me to concentrate and study to the best of my abilities.

“I was awarded an Excellence Scholarship which helped me achieve the best result that I could because it helped to reduce the pressure and worry of what was happening at home because I was travel home to visit my family regularly. I am so grateful for this support as I was able to focus more on my studies and as a result of this, I am so proud to have received a First Class Degree.”

Jodie has devoted her free time to promoting services for children in similar situations by running workshops, doing media interviews and presenting to national carers’ organisations. Jodie’s “courage and determination” was recognised in 2015 when she received the Youth of the Year Award for Wales at Buckingham Palace.

“When I found out I was awarded the Youth of the Year Award for Wales I was shocked as it is always a surprise to me when people commend me for the way I support my mother as I see it as an everyday thing. I remember feeling elated and nervous at the idea as Buckingham Palace had always been the world away. I am grateful that my caring role has allowed me so many opportunities.”

Jodie aspires to encourage changes that allow people in a similar situation to have more opportunities, putting her academic skills and life experience to good use.

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