Carers Week is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.  This year, the theme of Carers Week is ‘Putting Carers on the Map’, and highlighting the invaluable contributions of carers across the UK and ensuring their voices are heard loud and clear.

But, to help put carers on the map, we must first identify what is meant by the term, carer.

What does ‘Carer’ mean?

The word ‘carer’ means different things to different people. When some people hear the word ‘carer’ they may think of someone who works for a care agency or in a residential care home and is paid for the care they provide. But, a paid carer is not the only type of carer, there are also ‘unpaid carers’.

In fact, North East Lincolnshire Council estimates that as of the 2021 Census there are currently 14,057 people providing care to another person as an informal carer in North East Lincolnshire.

In North East Lincolnshire Focus Independent Adult Social Work support unpaid ‘adult’ carers. These are people who care for another person who is an adult (ie; a person 18 years or over). When we discuss support for ‘unpaid carers’ in this article, it is these people that we have in mind.

What is an unpaid carer’?

The Social Care Handbook defines an unpaid carer as

someone who provides unpaid support to a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled, has a mental health problem or substance misuse problem. The support may be personal, practical, emotional or supervisory.

There is no doubt that every carer journey is unique. For some, it may be helping a partner wash and dress; for others, it may be helping a family member with their appointments or helping them pay their bills. It may even be providing daily meals to a neighbour or ensuring a friend takes their medication.

A carer may be supporting one person or multiple people. Some carers have the help of other family, friends or paid carers, while others care for people on their own.

Gina Ablett is a local caregiver who supports her grandmother, she describes that “caring often starts by doing a bit more shopping, a bit more checking in on them and then a bit more daily support. It is the snowball effect of small actions that build and build”. She goes on to say that “once your relationship goes from what it was and becomes looking after them, you have made the transition to becoming a caregiver”.

Whatever the specifics of the circumstances one thing is true for all, the person that is being supported would struggle to cope without the help of the unpaid carer.

Carers Week: 10th June to 16th June 2024

Recognising the support you give as caring is important because it means you can access specialist services and explore additional support that would help make your life as a carer easier.

Support available for carers of adults in North East Lincolnshire

Here are some of the ways carers can be supported in North East Lincolnshire.

Carers Assessment

All carers are entitled to ask for an Assessment of their needs. This is called a ‘Carers Assessment’. This is separate from an assessment that the person you care for might have. You can ask for a combined assessment with the person you care for (consent from the cared for person would be required), or a “stand alone” assessment.  If eligible needs are identified, carers will then  receive a support plan.

You can get a carer’s assessment whether the person you care for is having their needs assessed or not. The kind of support you could receive depends on your circumstances, but here are some of the things can be explored during an assessment:

  • Information on local support groups
  • Help with caring
  • Different ways to support you to have a break from your caring role
  • Contingency planning

If you would like to discuss your caring role and/or a carers assessment you can contact Focus Adult Social Work on 01472 256256 (Option 2).

The Social Care Handbook can give you more information and advice on the process of an assessment and the eligibility criteria.

Live Well

The Carers Information Hub has helpful information, advice and links to support services for carers in North East Lincolnshire

The Carers’ Support Service

The Carers’ Support Service (01472 242277) provides a range of advice, information and signposting as well as practical and emotional support including:

  • Information
  • Emotional support
  • Benefits advice
  • Carer groups
  • Training
  • Counselling
  • Befriending
  • Holistic therapies
  • Support when caring ends
  • Carers Emergency Alert Card

Carers Wellbeing Worker Service, Care Plus Group

The Carers Wellbeing Team (01472 571120) support carers who help people over the age of 60, or who have a learning or physical disability

They provide regular contact with carers. This can be through face-to-face visits in their homes, in the community, telephone or by email. Contacts can be weekly, monthly or whatever the carer feels they need at any stage in their journey. The contact and support also continue when their cared-for moves to supported housing or into permanent care.

They provide emotional and practical support. For example, support with attending meetings, completing paperwork, and signposting them to other organisations that provide further help.

Support Exploring Benefits

The following services can help advise carers on what financial support they may be entitled to.

  • Age UK 01472 344976 (option 1 for Grimsby) option 2 for Cleethorpes
  • Citizens Advice Bureau – 01472 236675
  • Centre4 – 01472 236688
  • Jobcentre Plus – 0800 169 0190
  • Pensions Service – 0800 731 7898

This gives you an idea of the kind of support available in North East Lincolnshire. But, when in doubt, contact Focus Adult Social Work on 01472 256256 (Option 2).

We can give you advice based on your individual circumstances and help you access the support you need.