While most 16-year-olds worry about homework and football, Thomas Fleming often has other things on his mind.
For more than six years, he has been caring for his dad James, 56, who has severe epilepsy.
To celebrate Young Carers Awareness Day, Thomas spoke to the Tele about life looking after a loved one, as well as his role as Baldragon Academy’s young carers’ ambassador.
Thomas, from Kirkton, said: “It does impact on my school life because I worry about my dad quite a lot.
“He can have a seizure any day of the week. Sometimes he can be really stressed and that will lead on to one but other times he can have one out of the blue.
“He’s not had a seizure for quite a while which is really good. There was a period when it was just mad but recently he’s been pretty good.”
Thomas helps his dad out with shopping and stays with him at weekends.
If he realises his dad is about to have a seizure, Thomas knows how to prepare himself.
“I just say to myself that it’s about to happen, not to be nervous and keep calm and just do what I usually do,” he said.
“I can try to keep myself calm but some of the time I do get nervous. I get really upset as well because I don’t want to see my dad like that.
“I make sure he’s basically alright and that there is nothing around him which will cause him to hurt himself while he is having a seizure, then probably phone for an ambulance.
“I make sure my dad is fine, then I might run through to my next-door neighbour because he is an ex-paramedic.”
Thomas is one of at least 62 young carers who attend Baldragon Academy, although Laura Robertson, the school’s young carer co-ordinator, said there could be more.
Laura said: “A young carer is anyone under 18 who helps to look after a family member or friend who is either ill, disabled or misusing drugs or alcohol.
“They say one in five young people is a young carer.
“Thomas is our young carers’ ambassador. He has a role where he supports us in mentoring the young carers and buddies up with them.”
Baldragon Cares runs a group once every fortnight on a Tuesday after school where the young carers can get together and do a fun activity or learn a skill.
Laura said: “The support group is either a fun session to help the youngsters take their minds off their caring role or helps them develop caring skills.
“This week we are learning to juggle and then other weeks it’s first aid or cooking.
“It’s fun but they are actually cooking something that they can learn to make in the house.
“We are upskilling them in a way that allows them to develop their caring skills but also gives them fun and allows them just to be young people.”
Thomas said: “The group helps by letting me speak knowing that I’m not the only one who has got a caring role and being with people about my age who also have caring roles.
“When I leave school I want to be in the fire service. I’d also happily work at a young carers’ centre.
“They are great places and I know how much they can benefit young carers like me.”