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Unpaid Carers

An unpaid carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member, a friend, or a neighbour who needs help with their day to day lives due to a disability, mental or physical illness, substance misuse issue, or someone who needs extra help as they grow older.

Carers are a diverse group and every caring situation is unique. You are a carer if you provide a family member, friend or another person with assistance or support with their daily living.

Carers can be:

  • adults caring for other adults
  • parents caring for children who are ill or have a disability
  • young people under 18 years who are looking after, or involved in the care of, a parent, sibling, relative or friend.

For some taking on a caring role can be sudden; someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring responsibilities can grow gradually over time: your parents cannot manage on their own any longer; your partner’s or your child’s mental or physical health gradually worsens.

How Can Caring Affect You?

The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing emotional or personal care day and night.

Carers can help with personal things like getting someone dressed, helping them to the loo, helping them move about or administering their medication, they can also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing their money.

But without the right support caring can have a significant impact. Evidence shows that caring can cause ill health, poverty and social isolation.

Caring is something that will affect each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer, or need care ourselves.

Carers Assessment

The purpose of a carers assessment is to identify whether you are eligible for support to help you care for the person you are looking after.

To find out more information about what Carers assessment you could apply for please visit the SCC Adult Social Care and Support Page.

Giving Carers a Voice

Did you know that Surrey County Council commission a service that enables unpaid carer of all ages – including young carers – to have their voice heard by the health and social care system in Surrey?

The Giving Carers a Voice (GCaV) team listen to the experiences of carers to ensure their views are heard in the design and delivery of the services they use. They can also provide carers with information and signpost to ensure people get the support they need.

Run by Luminus – the organisation behind Healthwatch Surrey – GCaV identifies themes raised by carers; sees what barriers they are facing; what is working well, what’s not working well; and where there could be gaps in services. All feedback is anonymous (unless carers give specific permission to disclose their details).

These independent insights are then fed back to us and other stakeholders / service providers so that we are aware of what Surrey carers are facing. Based on the insights, the GCaV team can make recommendations to us or other organisations before feeding back our responses/outcomes to the carers.

Carers can use the feedback page to share their views. 

If you or any groups that you work with have further questions, please contact:

Pam Howard 
Lisa Roberts
Sarah Wood  

Useful Resources

As a carer, it is important to recognise and address your own needs and well being – and there are useful contacts below that can help support you.

  • Action for Carers Surrey provides support for carers across the whole of Surrey including a telephone helpline, carers groups, support workers and training. There is also support for young carers.
  • The Carer’s Prescription is a secure online referral mechanism which allows doctors and other primary care health professionals to support carers they come into contact with by referring them to a range of support services available across Surrey (including a carer’s assessment). You can ask your GP for this. The purpose is to help support the health and well-being of the carer and improve the balance between their caring roles and their life apart from caring.
  • The Mind website gives more information about ‘how to cope when supporting someone else’. You will also be able to download a leaflet with further information about what counts as caring, how caring can affect your mental health, how you can look after yourself and what support there is available.
  • Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust has information and support for carers of people with mental health needs.
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists has information for carers, family and friends caring for someone with a mental illness, and information for parents and carers of young people with depression.

Other Useful Links for information around Carers: