Are you a carer?
Carers are people who look after relatives or friends who, because of an illness or disability, can’t manage at home without help.
Many people don’t see themselves as carers - they might be parents, children, partners, friends or neighbours. Being a carer is a very valued role within our community and we want to help you recognise and celebrate what you do, as well as support you. We want you and the person you care for to live the best life possible, getting the right support at the right time.
A carer can be any age and come from any background or community. You may have been caring for a few months or a number of years. It can be very easy to forget about your own needs when you’re caring for someone else, but it's important to make sure you also look after yourself.
Caring can be very rewarding, but it also makes demands on your time, your health and your emotions, and can be tiring. So taking an occasional break from caring is important - it gives you the chance to recharge your batteries.
How can we help?
We recognise and value the vital role carers play in our community, and we want to help you feel supported so you can continue caring for as long as you feel able to do so.
Support for you
There is a wide range of support available to carers in our borough, which includes information and advice about things like:
- A carers assessment - working together on a support plan and accessing a personal budget
- Peer support or social activities - meeting and talking to people who are also carers and chatting about shared experiences and interests
- Getting access to short term breaks (respite care)
- Emotional support - counselling and support groups
- Help to act on your behalf (advocacy)
- Education and training opportunities - finding out what your interests and aspirations are
- Support to access employment
- Complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy
- Digital support to access equipment and keep in touch
- Carers registration scheme - register at your doctors' surgery to keep informed of relevant carers information and services
- Support groups for young carers - ensuring our young carers can access the right support and experience a positive childhood
- Welfare, benefits and debt advice - support to understand and access the right information at the right time
- Support to have a healthy lifestyle and enjoy yourself
- Virtual support and groups on social media.
Support for the person you care for
This includes information and advice about things like:
- Support at home, such as help with personal care
- Providing small pieces of equipment to help with routine household tasks, or arranging adaptations to their home
- Respite care
- Support to access things that they enjoy in their local community with activities, groups and day care
- Employment schemes.
What is an assessment?
A carers assessment is an opportunity for you to discuss your caring role and look at things which would help you in your role. It is not an assessment of your ability to be a carer.
The carers assessment is separate to the adult social care assessment, which is for someone with an illness or disability that needs additional care and support.
As a carer you are entitled to a carer's assessment (even if the person you care for doesn't want an assessment of their needs), and this can be done at the same time as the social care assessment for the person you care for if they have one, but if you prefer we can do it separately.
As an outcome of your carers assessment, you may be entitled to a personal budget. This is an allocation of monies to support you in your role and can be used in a variety of ways. In addition to this, the carers assessment process will look to offer you the right information, advice and support for you, or put you in touch with other organisations who may be able to help.
How much do services cost?
As a carer, you would not normally be expected to pay for services which help to support you.
However, there may be a charge for the person you care for - the cost will depend on their financial circumstances. They may have to pay a small amount, we may expect them to pay the full charge, or they may have to pay nothing at all. We will ask them to fill in a form, giving details of their income and savings.
What happens if you’re not happy?
You can complain if you are unhappy about your assessment, the services you receive or a member of our staff. You should be able to sort most things out with your assessor. If you are not happy with the way we have dealt with the problem, you can make a complaint.
Useful contacts and resources
Wigan and Leigh Carers Service
Wigan and Leigh Carers Service (external link) are our partners who provide advice and support to young and adult carers, undertaking carers assessments in partnership with Wigan Council. They are continuing to deliver the following services via telephone or Zoom (online video communication):
- Carers assessments
- Welfare rights support and welfare checks
- Counselling and advocacy
- Training and wellbeing
- Befriending services.
Call 01942 705959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crossroads Carers Support Group (CCSG)
CCSG are sharing regular updates and the latest information around support available to carers via the CCSG Facebook page (external link). They also have a regular newsletter on the CCSG website (external link).
Blue Carers Card
Blue Carers Cards are issued to all registered carers in case of an emergency. It is to alert people that the person with the card is supporting a 'vulnerable person'.
During COVID-19, the card is also being used to identify if a person is a carer and is recognised by GM Police. Many carers were concerned they would be stopped when collecting medication, shopping or travelling to the property that the person they support lives in.
These cards are available via Wigan and Leigh Carers Service.
Workforce mental health and wellbeing for unpaid carers
Unpaid carers don’t always have an employer or manager to provide support, and so the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have developed a short, 2-page toolkit specifically for unpaid carers, highlighting some of the main resources that may be helpful for them.
Other useful contacts