Support for Carers – Carers Assessments

Support for Carers – Carers Assessments

Like nurses and teachers, carers are one of the unsung heroes in the UK.  You are a carer if you care for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without your support.

What many of us don’t realise is that you, as a carer, also need support; emotionally, financially and practically. The level of support needed will differ based on your personal circumstances, but, we have seen that almost all carers need some amount of support.

This is where Carer Assessments come in handy.

Carer Assessments are an opportunity to discuss with the local council what support or services you need. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including for example, physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring. 

Who can have an assessment?

If you are a carer you are entitled to an assessment to determine the level of support you need, regardless of f the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support.

These assessments are carried out by your local council adult social services and can be done even before you take on caring duties. Please visit your local council either in person or via their website to ask for an assessment. You should be able to find the information in Health and Social care section of your council’s website. Alternatively, please visit your local care centre(link to Harrow Carers) and they can point you in the right direction.

You can even be assessed as a carer if the person you are looking after has had a needs assessment or if the local council have decided that they are not eligible for support. Often a needs assessment of you and the person you are looking after can be done at the same time. Please discuss this with your local council. If more than one person is caring for a person, even if that person is a young carer under the age of 18, each carer is entitled to their own assessment.

How is the assessment done?

Assessments can be done over the phone or online. Your local council may carry out a supported self-assessment. This could involve you filling in a self- assessment questionnaire, and then being contacted by the local council to discuss what you have written on the form.

Many councils prefer to conduct assessments in person and this is usually done at your home or at the council office.

Your assessment should cover:

  • your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
  • your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
  • your feelings and choices about caring
  • work, study, training, leisure
  • relationships, social activities and your goals
  • housing
  • planning for emergencies (such as a Carer Emergency Scheme) – the local council should be able to tell you more about what they can do to help you plan for an emergency

The aim of the assessments is to help you get the support you need. Be as open and honest as you can and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to share your thoughts and feelings with the support worker.

What happens next?

Once your assessment is complete, to be able to receive services and/or direct payments from the local council, you will need to meet the national eligibility criteria and therefore have what the law calls ‘eligible needs’.

You will meet the eligibility criteria if your well-being is affected by your caring duties.

There are three questions that the local council will need to consider when making their decision.

  • Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
  • Does your caring role have an effect on you?
  • Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you will have eligible needs.

If you don’t have eligible needs…

If the local council decides that you do not have eligible needs, then will receive a written explanation for this assessment.

You should also be given advice and information about what could be done to prevent or reduce your needs either now or in the future, based on your specific circumstances.

If you do have eligible needs…

If the local council decides that you do have eligible needs, then providing you want them to, they have a legal obligation to meet these needs and must draw up a support plan detailing how these needs will be met.

It may be agreed that the best way to help you as a carer is by providing services directly to you, by providing services to the person you are looking after, or a combination of both.

The local council can provide services themselves, or arrange services through another organisation. Alternatively, you or the person you are looking after can request direct payments, which are payments which enable you to buy services to meet your eligible needs. For more information you can view the direct payments section of our website.

The local council may or may not charge you for carers support, most councils do not. If they do, they must carry out a financial assessment to work out whether you must contribute and if so, how much. If the help you are offered is free, the local council do not have to carry out a financial assessment.

Note: If the local council do charge for carers support and the outcome of your financial assessment is that you will have to pay the full charge, then the local council only must meet your needs and draw up a support plan if you ask them too. The local council can then issue an additional charge for this.

The support plan must include:

  • details of the needs identified in the assessment
  • which needs meet the eligibility criteria
  • which needs the local council is going to meet, and how
  • the outcomes that you want to achieve
  • information about the personal budget available (the amount of money that the local council has worked out it will cost to arrange the necessary support for you)
  • information about direct payments
  • information and advice to support you in your role as a carer and address your needs

Some examples of the kind of help that could be available directly to you as a carer include:

  • help with transport costs, such as taxi fares or driving lessons
  • costs for a car where transport was crucial, such as repairs and insurance
  • technology to support you, such as a mobile phone, computer where it is not possible to access computer services elsewhere
  • help with housework or gardening
  • help to relieve stress, improve health and promote wellbeing such as a gym membership

Some examples of the kind of help that could be available to the person you are looking after, to help you as a carer include:

  • changes to their home to make it more suitable
  • equipment such as a hoist or grab rail
  • a care worker to help provide personal care at home
  • a temporary stay in residential care/respite care
  • meals delivered to their home
  • a place at a day centre
  • assistance with travel, for example to get to a day centre
  • laundry services
  • replacement care so you can have a break


The aim of this article is to give you an overview of the kind of support available to you, as a carer. To obtain an assessment of what you are and are not eligible to receive, please contact your local council or your local carer centre.

Your local carer centre will be able to point you in the right direction and will guide you step-by-step on how you can be assessed and how you can access the support you need.

At Working for Carers, our aim is to help carers, like you, find flexible or part-time employment that works around your caring duties.  Caring for carers and looking after your needs is our purpose of existence. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 0208 868 5224  to find out how we can help you.

Financial Support for Carers – Grants

Financial Support for Carers – Grants

As a country, we are slowly coming around to recognising the invaluable contribution made by the thousands of unpaid carers across the UK. Several organisations, charities and projects such as Carers Trust and their network partners, Working for Carers and others have emerged in the last 2 decades to provide support to carers up and down the country.

In addition to emotional and practical support, there are now several grants for carers that are available for both carers and those that they care for to provide the much-needed financial support.

They are awarded for different reasons including:

  • replacing essential white goods
  • helping with disability equipment or day to day living costs that cannot be met by government benefits
  • home repairs and moving home
  • help with the cost of a holiday

Each grant will have its own award criteria, and often they will want to ensure that you have applied for any government schemes and/or claimed all the statutory benefits that are available to you first, and that you have a low income and no or low savings available to you. (source; CarersUK)

Grants for carers are usually administered by charities or trusts. The best way to find out if you are eligible for a grant is to visit your local carer centre. There are numerous grants available and your eligibility will depend on your personal circumstances. A counsellor at your local carer centrewill talk to you to understand your situation and needs and will advise you on the grant options available to you.

Here are some suggestions when you are looking for a grant:

  1. Local grants

Several local charities and trusts help people within certain geographical locations. Your local carer centre will know about these.

  1. Carers Trust Grant

Carers Trust currently has a grant fund open for individual adult carers, aged 16+. Carers may be able to apply for grants of up to £300 for items or activities that will benefit them in their caring role, for example for:

Breaks for carers, with or without the person they care for.

Items for the home including cookers, fridges, beds and washing machines.

Courses and materials to develop carers’ skills and personal development.

Home repairs.

Short-term or time limited replacement care.

To see whether you can apply for a grant, contact your local carer service so they can advise you.

Carers Trust also have a comprehensive Fund Guidewith details of charities and funds that carers can contact regarding financial support for themselves and the people they care for.

  1. Turn2us Charity

Turn2us is a national charity that helps those in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. You can search for grantsthat you might be eligible for on their website.  They also have a free ‘grants checker’ helpline (0808 802 2000) that you can call and who will then run a grants search for you. ‘

  1. Elizabeth Finn Fund

Turn 2 Us also has its own occupational charity within it called the Elizabeth Finn Fund.

The Elizabeth Finn Fund gives direct grants and support to people living in financial difficulty who have a professional background and meet their grant-giving criteria.

Grants are given to people who hold or have formerly held occupations requiring a certain level of responsibility and education, or whose partners have done so. Grants are awarded to people from over 120 different professions whose work history includes employment in a role which requires a degree; NVQ level 4 or above; or equivalent.

  1. Charities that focus on specific illnesses or disabilities

If you are caring for someone with a specific illness like cancer or multiple sclerosis for example, charities that support those conditions often offer grants. For example, the Multiple Sclerosis Society can sometimes award grants for disability equipment, short breaks and support for families.

Contact the specific charity or your local care centre who will be able to guide and advise you on whether you are eligible for specific grants.

  1. Family Occupation

If someone in your family is in the Armed Forces or has worked in a certain sector like nursing (including healthcare assistants), the civil service or the education sector, there are many different charities that were specifically set up to aid the families of people within a whole range of professions. Again, your local carer centre should point you in the right direction.

We’ve barely scratched the surface with this list, but we hope that the resources mentioned above are helpful in getting you to the right people who can assist you to access grants and funding that you may be eligible for.

The first step, we believe is to contact your local care centre. Trained counsellors and advisors, based at these centres will provide you with the support you need whether it’s emotional, professional, or financial.

We understand that sometimes, people feel embarrassed to ask for help. You have no reason to be. As a carer, you are providing an invaluable service and holding your hand through this difficult time in your life is the least we can do. Please be assured that counsellors and advisors who work at carer centres are fully trained and any discussions you have with them are strictly confidential.

If you need to pick up the phone and chat, call the carer helpline on 0208 868 5224

At Working for Carers, our aim is to provide a comprehensive carer support service for carers trying to back into employment, whether full time or part-time to fit around their caring responsibilities. So, if you are looking to get back into employment and find a job that’s possibly part-time or flexible to accommodate your carer duties and you need some help on how to go about it, we’re the people to contact.

I found a job at John Lewis thanks to the Working for Carers

I found a job at John Lewis thanks to the Working for Carers

After having struggled with confidence and language barriers, 33-year-old Mehrdad joined Working for Carers which resulted in him securing a job at John Lewis. Read our interview about his background and success story.

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I am a carer for my physically disabled wife. I had not worked in the UK before but had some work experience from Iran and Malaysia. I wanted to go back to employment as I felt I was still young and needed to do some work even though I am still a full-time carer for my disabled wife.

How hard was it to find a job?

I started to look for a part-time job as soon as I came to the United Kingdom three years ago. However, I found it difficult to find or even keep looking for a paid job because of a lack of confidence, lack of understanding of the system and the employability skills in the country.

How did you hear about the Working for Carers programme?

I found out about the programme through Ealing Carers Centre and joined on 20th June 2017.

My Employment Personal Advisor Omer Ali carried out an initial assessment to find out what my employment needs, strengths, and well-being needs were. Through the assessment, Omer decided that the best action plan for me was a combination of group workshops and one to one support.

How did the programme help?

My main barriers to work were my levels of confidence, language barriers and having to increase my job-seeking skills. However, thanks to the programme, I started to have interaction with other people. I gained new confidence to participate and communicate with everyone and talk about my situation. I am a very friendly and sociable person who likes to help others.

I also learnt the English language through social settings and attended free English classes in the college, a few hours a week.

Omer helped me with my CV, interview techniques and showed me modern job search techniques and methods. I also attended and joined the CV writing workshop and the job club.

How did it change your chances in your job search? 

Once I had increased my confidence and skills, I started applying for jobs mainly in retail and the customer service sector. After several job applications and a few unsuccessful interviews, I found a Selling and Service Partner position at a John Lewis store.

What do you think of the Working for Carers programme?

Since I joined the programme I have learnt lots of new skills with the help of my Employment Advisor and my life has changed positively for good.



Family Carers

Family Carers

Caring for a terminally ill child or a spouse or an elderly member of your family towards the end of their life can be heart-breaking. Witnessing your loved one suffer, day in and day out, and needing your support to perform mundane tasks such as walking, eating, bathing or going to the toilet is not only emotionally draining and stressful but can lead to feelings of anger, resentment and frustration.

Although for many carers, caring can have positive and rewarding aspects, there are lots of reasons why caring can also leave you needing support.

If you experience a sense of helplessness and futility at your inability to improve your loved one’s quality of life, don’t despair. You are not alone. We work with carers across London who feel exactly like you; and many undergo depression and their own emotional upheavals in their efforts to come to terms with the situation.

There has been significant recognition in the last few years of the need for increasing support for carers across the country. And along with government agencies and other charities, we have been working hard to improve the lives of carers by supporting them find flexible employment that works around their carer duties. The ability to work, earn money and build on employable skills has proven to work wonders on the confidence and self-esteem of carers, allowing them to do something for themselves.

Family carers are, as the name suggests, family members who care for loved ones who are unable to care for themselves due to physical or mental impairments or simply due to age. Family carers are unpaid and take on caring responsibilities out of feelings of love, obligation and guilt. As the caring role is, in most cases, round the clock, carers usually tend to give up school/university and jobs or careers.

In addition to caring for an unwell or elderly relative, family carers may have their own children and families to look after putting further pressure on their time and mental well-being.

To put things in perspective, we thought we’d share some statistics with you. (Carers Trust)

  • There are around seven million carers in the UK – that is one in ten people. This is rising.
  • Out of the UK’s carers, 42% of carers are men and 58% are women.
  • 68% of young carers are bullied in schools.
  • Only half of young carers have a person in school who recognises that they are a carer and helps them.
  • Based on Census figures there are estimated to be at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16–25.
  • One in five people aged 50–64 are carers in the UK.
  • 65% of older carers (aged 60–94) have long-term health problems or a disability themselves.

These are startling figures to say the least.

We must not only provide practical support in the form of easy access to information on grants and benefits, helplines they can call when they need information and information on charities and voluntary organisations that can help, but also mental and emotional support in the form of access to local support groups and mental health professionals.

So, what support is out there for family carers?

There are several local carer support services across the UK. You can find the closest one to you by visiting the Carers Trust website and filling in your postcode.

Harrow Carers (link to website) specifically looks after the needs of carers across the London Borough of Harrow.

Some of the services provided by Harrow Carers to support family carers are:

  • Health and well-being through courses and workshops, complementary therapies and support groups.
  • Mental Health Services through one-to one support and psychological information sessions on topics such as depression, OCD, autism, bipolar disorder and others. Our well-being courses are extremely popular designed to teach carers coping strategies and boost psychological wellbeing. We also have informal drop-in sessions for carers to come in and have a chat with someone who understands them.
  • Support for older carers (65+) through improving the quality of life for older carers by addressing their social, financial and practical needs
  • Young person’s support services – this is for young people between the ages of 11-17 who care for their disabled of mentally challenged parents, siblings or other relatives. Most of our young carers register with us for different reason, with differing personal circumstances and diverse caring roles e.g. cooking, cleaning, giving medication, emotional support).
  • Advocacy support by protecting the rights of vulnerable carers.
  • Benefits advice
  • Counselling helping carers talk through and find ways to cope with their emotional and personal issues.
  • Respite services, providing regular breaks to carers.
  • Novus Homeshare – this is a scheme that matches younger people, looking for affordable accommodation and willing to provide help at home, with people who have a spare room and need extra support around the house.
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Working for Carers We are a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of 24 partners across London.
  • Macmillan Cancer Care Service – Harrow Carers are working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to specifically address the needs of Cancer carers in Harrow.

At Working for Carers, we take great pride in being able to provide a service to family carers that will improve their quality of life. Carers across the UK provide an invaluable service. Recognition of their contribution to society and the provision of practical and useful support is the least we can do as a society.

If you are a family carer, please do not hesitate to contact us (tel number) and we’ll help you either support your employment goals or direct you to the person most equipped to support your needs.
















Am I a carer?

Am I a carer?

Picture this: My spouse has been on the kidney transplant list for years. Whilst she has been managing around the home and the children, I’ve noticed a drop in her energy levels lately. Her blood pressure has spiked causing unbearable headaches and fatigue. Her specialist has recommended that her dialysis increases from once a week to 3 times a week at a hospital 30 miles away. Every dialysis session takes 4-5 hours after which she is exhausted. She can no longer do the school drops, cook meals or even get out of bed on most days. I am torn. How am I going to manage her health, the children or my job?


Picture this: My mother is getting old. Alzheimer’s has hit her hard. She looks at me like she doesn’t know me. The other night she wet the bed. Four nights ago, she was so angry she threw her dinner on the floor. I’ve thought about an old people’s home, but I can’t abandon her. She has been a fantastic mother. It’s my turn now to look after her. She can’t be left alone at home, so I’ve given up my job to look after her. But I need the money. How can I find work that will work around my care duties?

The husband and the daughter are both carers. If this is you or you know someone in a similar situation, please visit our website or give us a call to find out how we can support you in finding flexible employment whilst caring for a loved one.

We often associate the word “carer,” with professionals such as nurses, care home staff, paramedics or childcare nursery nurses or teachers. The truth is that we could all be carers. It could be you, me, your neighbour, your best friend’s sister, the smart looking man you see shopping at Tesco every day or even the little 9-year-old girl who waves at you as she walks to the bus stop every morning.

A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support (NHS England). Carers are unpaid and in many cases, have had to give up work or education to care for their parent, child friend, sibling or partner, full-time.

According to statistics published by The Carers Trust, the 2011 UK census shows that one in ten residents in England and Wales – 5.8 million people – are spending at least part of their week caring for disabled, sick or elderly relatives or friends. This equates to around 10% of the population and is an 11% rise from the 5.2 million carers recorded in 2001. In fact, nearly 300,000 more people in England and Wales are spending 50 or more hours a week caring – now 1.4 million. This is a full-time workforce greater than that of the National Health Service. (Carers UK (2014), Facts about Carers – Policy Briefing, May 2014 (Carers UK).

Most carers don’t consider themselves to be carers and according to NHS England, it takes almost two years for people to acknowledge themselves as carers. Most of us extend ourselves to help our loved ones in any way we can. If a family member or friend is unwell, has a disability or a mental health problem, we believe it’s our duty to look after them. “It’s what anyone would do,” we are likely to say. When this ‘looking after’ is round the clock, so much so that without your support, your loved one would be unable to cope, you are effectively their carer.

A carers role is diverse and challenging, juggling several responsibilities and commitments in addition to being a carer, such as jobs, education, children, health, leaving them feeling guilty, overwhelmed and unsupported. In their capacity as carers, they may help with everyday tasks such as getting out of bed and personal care such as bathing, to preparing and meals and feeding as well as emotional support such as helping someone cope with the symptoms of a mental illness. Whilst most people care for their loved ones voluntarily and willingly, many have no choice. With long hours spent caring for their loved one, it is not uncommon for carers to experience fatigue, social isolation, depression and a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

At Working for Carers, we have met some remarkable people who have put the needs of their loved ones above their own, sacrificing their careers, education and employment prospects. They often find themselves lacking the skills, confidence and knowledge to re-enter the workforce when they are ready. Often, carers find themselves in a situation where they are able to work part-time, but feel they don’t know how to go about getting such a role. That’s where we step in.

We believe that our role is to improve the lives and well-being of carers by helping them lead more fulfilling lives because on average, carers retire eight years early; one in five carers gives up employment to care and those caring for 20 hours or more a week who are in employment are also more likely to be in lower paid work than those caring for less than 20 hours and the general population (16% compared with 12%). 26% of carers feel that their caring responsibilities have affected their ability to take up or stay in employment (Carers Trust). It’s our job to look after them.

Our employment advisors work closely with eligible carers to build their employment skills and self-confidence, through workshops on CV writing and interview techniques, computer skills, mindfulness and stress management.

Visit our Workshops page or give us a call on 0208 868 5224 to find out how we can support your job search.




What does a carer need?

What does a carer need?

Becoming a carer, whether full-time or part-time, is challenging for anyone, but more so for those that are elderly themselves or for those who are very young, teenagers or young carers. Carers can come from all walks of life. Many carers have families of their own or have jobs or are in education and must manage other commitments in addition to the caring role they have taken on.

When we talk to carers, words that they often use to describe how they feel are; stress, tiredness, lonely, guilt, anger, fatigue, irritation, depressed and sad were a few. They spend long hours looking after their loved ones, often with no time off or breaks, leaving them socially isolated and overwhelmed. Whilst many carers take on the caring role voluntarily, a large majority feel they have no choice. If, for example, it’s a parent who needs care, children often feel a sense of obligation and guilt to look after them. Or it could be a disabled child who needs his or her parent to look after them. When the caring role is that of a close family member or friend, where emotional bonds run deep, the carer is usually focussed on the needs of their loved one, neglecting their own. This results in low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, a loss of personal identity and often depression.

For carers to do their jobs well, we need to take active steps to look after them and their needs.

So, what does a carer need? The simple answer is consistent and easily accessible help and support.

1. Financial Support
Many carers have given up their jobs to care for their loved one full time or have reduced their working hours resulting in lower incomes, reduced pensions and fewer job prospects. The Government recognises this and carers are entitled to Carers Allowance as long as you work as a carer for at least 35 hours each week. Additionally, Carer Grants can become a financial resource to make ends meet.

Carer grants from local councils share Government funding received between social services, local carer groups and charities.

Whilst there is financial support available for carers, it may be overwhelming to get the process going and understanding what the eligibility criteria are, what forms need to be filled, where do the forms need to be sent, etc.

If you are a carer, we recommend that you visit your local carer centre (link/tel) and speak to an advisor who will guide you through the process of accessing additional financial support and help you with application forms, filling them out, sending them to the right people and helping you in any way you need.

2. Emotional & Wellbeing Support
This is probably the most important need of a carer. The long hours of caring for a loved one, coupled with the emotional toll and frustration of seeing a loved one suffer, can leave a care vulnerable to depression, stress and feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. We’ve often met carers who have told us that they simply need someone to talk to or someone who would just listen to them.

There are several local carer centres and charities like Harrow Carers(Link to website) who conduct workshops on mindfulness, stress-relief and yoga and have trained counsellors and therapists who work closely with carers, supporting them through their emotional and mental challenges.

If you are a carer, struggling to cope, please contact your local carer centre or call xxx xx ( is there a helpline they can call?) who will direct you to the closest carer centre or charity in your area.

3. Employment Support
Finding work that fits around caring for a loved one or after they are no longer carers (in the event of a bereavement), can be a challenge for many carers. If they have been full time carers for several years and have been out of the work force, they often lack the confidence and necessary skills to re-enter the workforce. Many don’t know how to write CV’s and cover letters or what to wear for an interview or even what to say in an interview. They need handholding to even begin the process. We have met carers who are able to take a part-time, flexible role, but don’t know where to look for such roles.

That’s where projects like Working for Carers(link) can help. Working for Carers focuses on helping unpaid carers get back into the workforce, keeping their needs, abilities and circumstances in mind and working with them to find the most workable employment solutions to their specific situations.

4. Support after they stop being carers
What happens to a carer after they stop being carers? If the person they are looking after passes away or moves into a care facility, the person looking after them may feel lost and without purpose. They may need bereavement or grief counselling, help with finding employment and generally re-entering society through support groups and counselling.

Local carer centres and charities such as Carers Trust, or Carers UK, Harrow Carers, will be able to help. If this is you, please do not hesitate to contact your local carer centre or charity or call 020 8868 5224 for help.

Carers are a vital part of UK society, contributing over £100 billion to the economy. With the ageing population, the number of unpaid carers in the UK will only grow, increasing the importance for support for carers. Whilst they are looking after the needs of people unable to take care of themselves, as a society we must look after their needs.
Here’s how you can help.