A carer is anyone who cares unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Facts about carers include:

  • Carers don’t choose to become carers: it just happens
  • You may be a carer for a short or long period of time
  • You can slowly slip into caring as responsibilities increase over time - or you may need to step in due to a sudden event (such as a stroke)
  • Nationally, at any one time one in ten people are carers
  • The caring role may be undertaken by one person or several friends, neighbours or members of the family 

Visit our Carers Centre page to find out about the support we offer to carers in Portsmouth, or read below for additional information.

A young carer is a child or young person who often takes on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.

Some of the ways young people care for someone are:

  • Staying in the house a lot to be there for them
  • Helping them to get up, get washed or dressed, or helping with toileting
  • Doing lots of the household chores like shopping, cleaning and cooking
  • Looking after younger brothers and sisters
  • Providing emotional support or a shoulder to cry on

Caring can have a significant and long lasting effect on children and young people.

It is vital that young carers are identified and supported in order for them to have the best chance to reach their potential and have the same opportunities as other children.

  • Around one in 20 young carers misses school due to caring responsibilities
  • Young carers are more likely than the national average to be not in education, employment or training (NEET) between the ages of 16 and 19
  • Young carers are 1.5 times more likely than their peers to have a special educational need or a disability
  • Young carers have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, the equivalent to nine grades lower overall than their peers - for example the difference between nine Bs and nine Cs.

The young carers project based at the Carers Centre provides young carers aged 5-18 with access to a break via weekly activity groups and a programme of activities which take place during the school holidays.

Benefits can be confusing. When you are a carer, completing a 60-page benefit form is the last thing you want to do - if you know what form to fill and what benefits you are entitled to.

For that reason, the Carers Centre works closely with partners at the Citizens Advice Bureau, Advice Portsmouth, Age UK and other agencies who have knowledgeable and specially-trained staff to help you.

They can help you complete benefit forms, look into maximising your income and debt management, if necessary - they will find out if you might qualify for any reductions, grants or other financial help.

Other sources of support:

The emergency planning process means that if anything happens to a carer, actions are taken by the relevant agencies to ensure that the person they care for is safe.

An emergency plan is an invaluable process to have in place, to give you, the carer, more control over your situation, and give you some peace of mind.

How it works

  • As a carer, you receive a card with a database reference number written by us.
  • You write your first name or full name on the card, and who will be called in case of emergency.
  • If there is no one available to step in, include the number for Adult Social Care instead.

We encourage you to keep the emergency card with you at all times - for more information or to get a card please call us on 023 9285 1864.

The Care Act came into effect on 1 April 2015 and consolidates 60 years of social care legislation.

The Children and Families Act 2014 increases rights for Young and Parent carers to an assessment.

"The Care Bill in many respects marks a quiet revolution in our attitudes towards, and expectations of, carers. At last, carers will be given the same recognition, respect and parity of esteem with those they support.

"Historically, many carers have felt that their roles and their own well-being have been undervalued and under-supported. Now we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be truly acknowledged and valued as expert partners in care." Dame Philippa Russell, Chair of Standing Commission on Carers

The first local carers strategy was launched in 2011. The 2015 Portsmouth Carers Strategy follows the four priorities of the National Carers Strategy Action Plan:

  1. Identification and recognition
  2. Realising and releasing potential
  3. A life alongside caring
  4. Supporting carers to stay healthy

The local carers strategy includes Portsmouth Carers Voice, where carers can influence local services -  more information is available below.

Portsmouth Carers Voice began life as the Carers Council in 2011. Made up of Portsmouth people who are all carers, the group works as the ‘voice of the carer’ with an understanding of the real issues because of their experience in a caring role.

Many issues affect all types of carers but Portsmouth Carers Voice responds to trends, not single issues, and feeds them into the Carers strategy executive board which comprises senior staff who can make a difference, drawn from Portsmouth City Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Solent NHS Trust, Portsmouth Hospital Trusts (QA hospital) plus senior staff from the Carers Centre, Adult Mental Health and the Integrated Commissioning Unit.

Portsmouth Carers Voice feeds back the findings to carers as well as monitoring the progress (or otherwise) of these trends for as long as necessary. To continue  and improve upon our past successes the Portsmouth Carers Voice needs more carers to participate, informing us of any issues that affect them and the people they care for.

Portsmouth Carers Voice holds regular forum meetings, and carers are invited to attend to talk openly about issues that concern them. Guests are also drawn from service providers.

Action Portsmouth supports the running of the Portsmouth Carers Voice.

For more information please contact jacky.charman@actionhants.org.uk or phone 07801 379 669 or 023 9282 2795.

Alternatively, write to Action Portsmouth, All Saints Church, 388 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 4BT.


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