Sidekick privacy policy

Sidekick is a messaging service for young carers run by Action for Children. We collect personal information when you use the service. This policy describes how we use and protect your personal information.  

Action for Children is committed to protecting your privacy.  

We follow data protection law when treating your personal information. This includes: the UK Data Protection Act 2018, the Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2017 and other applicable laws. 

We review our privacy policies on a regular basis, so this policy may change from time to time. The latest version will always be on this website.  

This version was updated on 22 August 2023.

Do you have questions? Email or write to: Data Protection Officer, Action for Children, 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford WD18 8AG. 

Messaging service

Sidekick is a text and email messaging service for young carers in the UK. The service is for 13 to 18 year olds. We can support you until the age of 25 if you have special educational needs or a disability. 

You can message Sidekick by text or email about anything that’s bothering you. We will reply to you with our help and advice. Our aim is to respond within 24 hours. The information you share will help us to learn more about issues faced by young carers, as well as support you directly. 

Our lawful basis for this is legitimate interests. As a children’s charity, we have a legitimate interest in using your data to support you. 

Anonymous quotes and case studies  

We may share anonymised quotes and case studies from the service with people and organisations who want to fund Sidekick, like commissioners and funders. Anonymised means you can’t be identified.  

We do this to tell people about Sidekick and to get funding for the service. We also do it to measure the impact Sidekick is making and improve the service.  

When we anonymise a quote or a case study, we remove or change details that could identify you or the people around you. This includes removing details like your name, your age, where you live, or specific details about your life.  

Feedback about the service

We may ask you for some feedback after you use this service or when you use this website. The information you give will help us improve the service and help more people. You don’t have to answer these questions if you don’t want to.

We may use your anonymous feedback in our marketing material. We will only do this with your consent. 

You can withdraw this consent at any time using the contact details at the end of this page. 


Adults may refer a young carer to Sidekick by completing a referral form.

We collect personal information about the person making the referral, including their name, job and contact details. This is so we can contact them for more information and to keep them posted on the status of the referral. We may also share the referrer’s information with other organisations if we are worried about someone’s safety.

We also collect information about the young person the adult wants to refer to the service.

We can only accept referrals where the young person has been informed and agreed to the referral. We do this to decide if we can support the young person they’ve referred to Sidekick.

Our lawful basis for collecting this information is legitimate interest. As a children’s charity, we have a legitimate interest in using your data to support you.

We collect your personal information when you contact Sidekick. This includes:  

  • The phone number or email you use to contact us. 
  • The information you choose to share with us. 

We use this information to support you. We may ask you for more information to help refer you to a local young carer service. 

When using Sidekick, we may collect Special Category Data (SCD) that you share with us. This includes information about your health. This helps us to respond to your needs. This may include helping to refer you to a health service.  

The lawful basis for collecting this information is legitimate interests. This means that when you tell us about yourself, we collect this information to give you the best support and advice possible.

We collect this information to support you and to understand how young people use Sidekick, so we can improve it in future. 

Specifically, we may use information you share:

  • To provide the service to you
  • To signpost you to appropriate local services
  • To escalate safeguarding concerns
  • To contact you in response to a specific enquiry
  • To evaluate the service
  • To improve the service we provide
  • To contact you for feedback
  • In marketing material to promote the service (only with your consent)

Action for Children is the data controller for your personal information. By law, we have to make sure we:  

  • Only use your information for the purpose for which it was requested, 
  • Keep your information secure. 

We will tell you about organisations we intend to refer you to. Where possible, we will not share confidential information with organisations without your consent.  

If we are worried about your safety, we will work with you to collect more information so we can support you. If we are worried about your immediate safety, our team may break confidentiality so you can get urgent support.

    We would only break confidentiality if you were:

    • being physically or emotionally hurt
    • being exposed to neglect
    • being touched inappropriately by an adult
    • suicidal
    • or someone you know was in imminent danger
    • a danger to yourself or someone else
    • or if there is a suspicion of terrorist activity.

    We only keep your information up to a maximum of seven years. 

    Action for Children has strong data protection and security policies in place to protect your personal data. 


    You can ask to see any information Action for Children holds about you, to have information corrected or erased. We are responsible for protecting your personal information, and we take this responsibility very seriously. 

    If you have any questions or concerns about how we use your personal information, you can: 

    • Email the Data Protection Officer at 
    • Write to us at: Data Protection Officer, Action for Children, 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford, WD18 8AG. 

    For more information about your information rights, please visit If you are based in Guernsey for more information about your information rights please visit 

    If you are unhappy with how we have handled your personal information, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office to lodge a complaint.  

    If you are unhappy with how we have handled your personal information, you have the right to contact the Office Data Protection Authority to lodge a complaint. 

    What is a cookie?

    A cookie is a small file placed on your computer’s hard drive. It enables us to identify your computer as you view different pages on our website.

    Cookies enable us to see information like how many people use the website/service and how people use it.

    How we use cookies

    We may use cookies to:

    • Analyse our web traffic using Google Analytics. Aggregated usage data helps us improve the website structure, design, content, and functions.
    • Use Hotjar to better understand our users’ needs to collect data on their behaviour and devices. This includes a device’s IP address (stored in a de-identified form), device screen size, device type (unique device identifiers), browser information, geographic location (country only), and the preferred language used to display our website.
    • Store information about your preferences. The website can then present you with information you will find more relevant and interesting.
    • To recognise when you return to our website.
    • Cookies do not provide us with access to your computer or any information about you, other than that which you choose to share with us.

    Strictly necessary cookies

    Cookies described as strictly necessary are used to remember things like the information you’ve entered on a form or any orders or services you have requested. These cookies make sure you connect to the correct service on our website when we make any changes to the site. These cookies are essential for the websites to operate effectively.

    Performance cookies

    The performance cookies on our website are used to collect information about how you use our website, pages visited and any errors you may experience. These cookies don’t collect any information that could identify you – all information collected is anonymous and is only used to improve how our website works, understand what interest’s users and measure the effectiveness of our advertising.

    Targeting cookies

    Targeting cookies are linked to services provided by third parties. The third party provides these services in return for recognising that you have visited our website. We use ‘targeting’ cookies to link to social networks who may subsequently use information about your visit to target advertising to you on other websites or to provide advertising agencies with information on your visit so that they can present you with adverts that you may be interested in. You can control whether or not these cookies are used, but preventing them may stop us from offering you some services. All of these cookies are managed by third parties and you may alternatively use the third parties’ own tools to prevent these cookies.

    Controlling cookies

    We use OneTrust to manage how users opt in and out of the cookies on our website. You can update your preferences for the cookies on our website through your profile. Please note that our websites will work without cookies, but you will lose some features and functionality if you choose to disable them.

    If you wish to restrict or block web browser cookies which are set on your device then you can do this through your browser settings for details, see You can delete all cookies that are already on your computer and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed. If you do this, however, you may have to manually adjust some preferences every time you visit a site and some services and functionalities may not work.

    Our website may contain links to other websites. You may also be sent links during your conversations with us to other websites.

    Please note that we have no control of websites outside of Action for Children. If you provide information to a website to which we link, we are not responsible for its protection and privacy.

    Always be careful when submitting data to websites. Read the site’s data protection and privacy policies fully.