A new £1.2million scheme aimed at giving 10,000 young carers across Essex tailored support has been approved.

On Tuesday, Essex County Council gave the green light to plans to create the new service for young carers, pledging an extra £275,000 a year over the next five years.

A test pilot of the scheme, centred around a key worker model, has been running in the Braintree District. It will now roll out across the county in April 2018.

Among those who have benefited from the pilot project are single mum Sharon Monk, and her three sons Charlie, Eddie and Ollie.

Mum Sharon suffers from several health conditions including diabetes, gallstones, a severe hernia and endometriosis.

Charlie, 14, and Eddie, 11, are left to balance their learning at Hedingham School with caring for their mum and two-year-old brother Ollie - who suffers his own health problems and has been tube fed since birth.

Ms Monk, 37, said: “We are always backwards and forwards to hospital and it can be very tough. At certain times I literally can’t get off the sofa and really struggle to move, so a lot of it falls on my eldest, Charlie, to look after the family.

“He has to help get Ollie’s feeds ready and play with him if I’m having a bad day. He also does the cooking, the hoovering and tidying up, and him and Eddie go out and get the shopping if I need them to. They’re both brilliant but it’s a lot for them to have to cope with.”

The family, who live in Shalford, have been quick to praise the support provided by their one-to-one key worker since the trial began.

Ms Monk said: “They’ve made a huge difference. Charlie suffers from anxiety and can be very shy, but he’s really come out of his shell.

“Him and Eddie have really taken to one of the key workers in particular and often ask when they’re next going to see him.

"They used to go to the support groups and it’s nice for them to meet other children going through similar experiences, but it’s so great having someone they can talk to who isn’t family and who is at the end of the phone when they need it.“

Visit www.carersinessex.org.uk.