There was no question over the importance or timing of Looking After Mum (BBC1), following young carers commissioned for Children in Need.
The annual event, culminating in tomorrow’s telethon, has raised £740m since 1980 to help disadvantaged young people in the UK.
This moving film showed children looking after an ill parent, on top of navigating the tricky path of adolescence. “It’s like having a newborn baby and you’re really, really nervous that it’s going to hurt itself,” said 11-year-old Antonia-Rae, a remarkably thoughtful, composed girl, scared to leave her disabled mum alone after a suicide attempt.
While Antonia-Rae helped wash and dress her mother, we saw 10-year-old Tom expertly administering his mum’s medication and helping her eat through a feeding tube through her nose.
All had sacrificed a lot, not least Kashanna, 18, who had given up college so she could care for her blind mother. None complained, they just got on with it, with very little time to be kids.
There was some respite for Tom and his brother Joe at a camp for carers (a Children in Need-funded project) but you sensed there was no real escape. At one point, they had a typical brotherly scrap. The topic? Missing mum.
The message was clear: these kids are special and they might not think they need our support and attention, but they truly deserve it.
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