My name is Ali.

I’m 18 and I think I’m a loving and caring person.  I have a brother and we live with our mum.  I play my Xbox a lot which I enjoy, I’m quite competitive when I play online.  I like meeting my mates on a Saturday.

My brother, Dom – he’s 15, he was born with Cerebral Palsy and mum had a breakdown soon after, she struggles to cope with all the things he needs. She suffers from depression and finds it hard to lift him, it’s getting harder as he gets bigger. I do things like dressing, washing, helping him eat, lifting him into bed. He can’t talk so it’s hard to communicate but I make little jokes with him, and he smiles at me.  Some nights I read to him and every morning I give him his breakfast, he goes to a special school during the week which gives me time to myself, I’d like to go to college but I find it hard to leave mum sometimes.

I was contacted by someone from Carers Oxfordshire after a nurse let them know about our situation.  They were so helpful, we talked about me and what I was hoping to do in the future, we talked about college, and they helped me realise that mum could apply to get extra support so I could go to college and not worry. They helped explain to me that I was a carer, because when I thought of a carer, I thought of the people who come to the house to help Dom sometimes, but now I know the difference.  They did a carer assessment with me, it gave me an opportunity to say out loud what I was doing for Dom, I hadn’t really done this before, what I do for Dom is just something I do.  They told me about lots of things that were going on for carers where we live and arranged for me to get some free tickets to Countryfile, I had a great day out and what’s best is that I did it for me.  I got £300 from the carer assessment, and I put it towards a gym membership so that I can try to stay fit.  The last thing you do when you are doing so much for someone is think of yourself.