Portsmouth city council

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 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 B’s and nine C’s.

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 maximisng 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 the Carers Council, where carers can influence local services -  more information is available below.

The Carers Council is a forum where carers can share their views and experiences on issues that affect them, contribute, and hear about plans to develop services designed to help them.

The Carers Council was set up to ensure the council and health services could hear carers views and develop services accordingly. Action Portsmouth (run by Action Hampshire) support the running of the Carers Council.

The current structure of Carers Council in under review to try and secure more comprehensive involvement and a wider selection of views from the carer community, which is estimated include 17,000 carers living in Portsmouth.

Action Portsmouth is currently running a survey about engaging with carers. When the survey has closed a series of focus groups and reference groups will be advertised. Action Portsmouth will use social media and one off groups, and are happy to receive comments either by email, phone or face to face. 

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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