A 15-year-old girl who cares for her disabled mother described having breakdowns at school due to her responsibilities.

Marisa Olusemo, 15, who lives in Goodmayes, Redbridge, was left to care for her mother Jacqueline last year. Jacqueline had her left leg amputated due to an infection that was made worse by her diabetes - and lost several toes as well.

Recently, she was fitted with a prosthetic leg and is learning to walk again.

But caring for Jacqueline has not been an easy task. Marisa described how she experience mental anxiety: “I was having breakdowns at school and there was a moment when I couldn’t stop crying.

“I started seeing a counsellor at school who recommended that I access the Young Carer Service. They could see the amount of help I was providing to my family at home and said it could help.

“My mum uses a wheelchair so I have to help out around the house with everyday tasks which she can’t do herself such as going to the toilet. She has Type II diabetes and has to take insulin and monitor her blood sugar levels regularly.”

In recent years, Jacqueline’s condition has become harder to manage, resulting in longer stays in hospital and several operations.

Marisa said: “I’ve had to make sure that I have basic knowledge of the condition and know how to help her as she can become unwell really easily.”

However, just before Christmas in 2018 Marisa was referred to Barnardo’s Young Carer service, which is run in partnership with Redbridge Council.

She visits Barnardo’s Young Carer Service at its Wellbeing Hub in Ilford each Tuesday, which gives young carers the opportunity to get support and talk through any problems they are experiencing.”

It’s Carers Week this week (June 10-16). And the teenager is raising awareness of the support young carers can get after being helped by children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Marisa said: “Barnardo’s has helped me a lot.

“Coming to the hub also allows me to meet other young carers who have been going through the same thing as me. It makes me feel that I’m not alone.”

“Sometimes it can be difficult for other young people to understand what it means to be a young carer if they don’t have the knowledge or experience. My friends are nice people and they are supportive, but some of them don’t always understand exactly what I’m going through.

“I would say to them that it’s really about putting yourself in the shoes of a young carer and opening your eyes a bit to what they could be going through. Someone could be looking after a parent at home and you might never be aware.”