Imogen is eight years old and requires a lot of physical support because she has limited mobility. On top of this she also requires medical and personal care.

Not all heroes wear capes and this is true of Imogen’s brothers, Tom and Ed, who help their mother Catherine when she is struggling to cope. Ed, the oldest sibling, looks after his sister and younger brother Thomas when Catherine must head out for reasons concerning Imogen:

 "Obviously she’s not as mobile as us…I’ll almost have to be those legs for her. I’ll be carrying her up and down the steps, around shops, up mountains sometimes; just places where she can’t get, I’ll be doing it for her.

"I guess it’s making her happy with what she can do. It makes her feel like she’s more mobile than she actually is. She doesn’t think about the disability then because she’s actually up there, she’s like ‘I’ve done it.'

"She’s my sister so I’m happy to do it. Sometimes it’ll get frustrating but all in all I’m used to it so it’s just normal, it’s all I’ve ever known, it’s just life now so I just get on with it really."

Caring for Imogen, which includes around the clock care, restricts Catherine from working and limits her social life. She explained how the responsibility of being a young carer has impacted Ed’s life:

"Ed’s role as the older child in the house is quite significant because, essentially, he’s no longer a child. He’s taking on the role of the second adult in the family and it impacts on his work so when he’s finding out when he can and can’t work it revolves around Imogen’s hospital appointments.

"He’s often left as the only adult in the house although he’s not actually an adult, where he has to look after all the other children overnight, make sure he’s gone and bought shopping, make sure everybody’s fed, goes to bed, gets up and goes to school."

Launched in 2002, Carers Trust South East Wales has been running its Young Carers Service in Monmouthshire for 17 years. The service is mainly focused on giving young carers a break from their caring responsibility and improving the lives of young carers and their families.

Ed praised the service, which provides him with some much needed escapism:

"The Young Carers Service, they get you out the house and thinking about yourself, living in the moment rather than thinking about what’s going on at home. It just takes your mind off your caring role.

"Because they’re in similar situations to you they understand you a lot better; you’re not really closed off, you’re straight open with them because they’re used to it as well."

 Thomas has previously been told off in school for not completing homework when he was otherwise occupied with tasks at home. Through the Young Carers Service he has made many friends, but none quite like his sister:

"Sometimes she’s annoying, but that’s what sisters are meant for, other times she’s really nice. Sometimes she gives me a present or a little gift or a card saying ‘To Tom, I love you, from ?’ but we all know it’s her because of her handwriting."

Despite, in Catherine’s words, Imogen driving her brothers ‘doo lally’, she believes that Tom and Ed adore their sister and are in fact more invested because they take care of her so much. Ed believes that Imogen plays on their level of commitment sometimes:

"She’s ambitious, she is smart. She won’t let people tell her she can’t, she’ll just find a loophole; she’ll just bend the rules if she can, basically."

"If you’re a young carer you should keep going, keep trying and always love your family and love everyone else."

You can meet the family yourselves by clicking the link below: