Support for Carers
A ‘Carer’ is anyone who looks after and supports another person who couldn’t manage without them. This can include children, young people and adults who may care for a spouse, relative, friend or neighbour who requires support due to their illness, frailty or disability. The care they provide is unpaid.
NWS Alliance is working with local organisations to raise awareness of unpaid carers, the responsibilities they undertake and the support available to those looking after a spouse, relative or friend who couldn’t manage without them.
At the time of the 2021 Census, over 90,000 Surrey residents reported that they provided unpaid care, although we expect this figure to be much higher.
The Giving Carers a Voice: Identifying as a Carer (Healthwatch Surrey) report published in March 2023, found that often people who undertake the responsibilities of an unpaid carer, do not see themselves as a carer or have not registered as a carer with any organisations. The report found that this could be for a number of reasons, which include:
- Caring for your child, spouse or loved one is simply part of the relationship
- A gradual shift in relationship and needs
- Not doing enough to be a carer.
This animation created by Healthwatch Surrey shares quotes and comments from individuals in unpaid caring roles talking about what is considered a carer, why people don’t recognise themselves as carers and accessing benefits and support.
If you are unsure whether you may be an unpaid carer, Crossroads Care Surrey have designed a simple assessment to help you – ‘Am I a Carer?’ self-assessment.
Registering as a Carer
You should make your GP practice aware if you provide unpaid care for someone so that they may be able to provide additional support and help if you need it.
A GP will be able to support you in your caring role and could refer you to local schemes, services and charities who provide advice, guidance and information.
You must register with you GP practice to be able to access this additional support for carers. To register with your GP, please visit your practice website and search ‘register a carer’ or visit your practice in person and complete the GP Carer Registration form.
Support and resources
There are a range of services and organisations that you can get in contact with for support, advice and information.
Action for Carers Surrey – the registered charity provides information, support and advice to unpaid carers of all ages in Surrey. They can provide support by phone, face-to-face meetings, support groups and workshops. If you’re a young carer (aged 5-17), their Young Carers Team offers free information and support, plus workshops, fun activities and group sessions.
Crossroads Care Surrey – a registered charity providing services to unpaid carers in Surrey, including care replacement breaks and emergency care planning. They also provide the Surrey Carers Card which entitles carers to discounts and offers.
Giving Carers a Voice – (part of Healthwatch Surrey CIC, an independent organisation) works to ensure carers have a voice to improve, shape and get the best from local services. By listening to the experiences of carers, Giving Carers a Voice are able to inform, influence and, if necessary, challenge service providers and those who make decisions about services in Surrey.
Surrey County Council – adult social care and support available in Surrey.
Carers UK – a national charity providing information and advice, connecting up carers and using innovation to improve services.
Surrey Young Carers (under 18) – provides support for young carers in Surrey who care for a family member.