Support for carers

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care for a family member, partner or friend. Carers can receive help and support which is beneficial for their health and wellbeing, their relationship with the person they care for, and can help sustain the caring relationship for longer.  This article will explain how to access support, information and advice for carers.

To access some services you will need to have an assessment to find out which would best meet your needs. There may be a charge for these services. Visit the your care and support needs pages for more information and to request help for your care and support needs.

Further guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family is available from the website.

You can also read the South Gloucestershire Carers Strategy 2022-27 to find out about our local priorities for all carers.

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Who are carers?

Carers, sometimes called family carers, are relatives, friends or neighbours who look after someone who cannot manage at home without them.  This could be caring for a relative (a parent, grandparent, sibling, child or other relative) or a spouse, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or who has mental health or substance misuse problems. Carers do not necessarily live with the person they are looking after. Carers can be of any age, including young carers under the age of 18 looking after their parents or other family members.

We recognise the huge contribution made by carers and aim to ensure there is support and information available to assist people in their caring role by signposting them to a range of services and support organisations.

Under the Care Act 2014 the council has duties and responsibilities regarding carers, including:

  • encouraging carers to identify themselves as carers
  • providing information
  • offering a range of services to support carers in their caring role
  • offering carers assessments, the opportunity for carers to think about their caring role, and how they can best be supported in this role. 

The Carers Support Centre (more details below) have created a short carer awareness film featuring 4 local carers, the film aims to increase carer awareness and reach unidentified carers.

Covid - 19 – Support for carers

You can apply for PPE for Covid-19 related requirements. has guidance on PPE for unpaid carers.

There is useful information about making contingency plans that can be put in place should you or the person you care for become unwell.

There is also contact information for the Carer Liaison staff who are based in hospitals in Bristol.  The Carer Liaisons can provide support either to you as a carer if you are admitted into hospital and/or to the person you care for if they are in hospital or require support at home. 

Planning for an emergency

It is a good idea to plan ahead and think about what you would do in an emergency situation.

Making contingency plans

We encourage carers to make contingency plans, in the event of you becoming unable to continue to care for someone.

If you have no support and you become unwell and unable to care, then call the number on your Carers Emergency Card. If you do not have a Carers Emergency Card visit the Carers Support Centre website to register now. There is no charge.  There is more information about this in our carers emergency card article and below.

If you are unable to provide care and the person you care for needs support call 01454 868007 (for an adult) or 01454 868008 if you are caring for a disabled child under 18.

Carers UK have guidance on developing a contingency plan.

Support from providers and personal assistants

If you or a person you care have domiciliary care agencies (home care) coming in, they have all been trained in infection control and have contingency plans for if their staff are off ill.

If you or the person you care for has a direct payment and your personal assistant becomes ill or is self isolating, consider the contingency plans for who else may be able to support.

More information for people who receive direct payments is available on our direct payments page.

If you or the person you care for need support which is not personal care, such as shopping, posting letters, walking your dog or are isolated, visit our directory of services page to find details of your local volunteer group.

Help when going into hospitalThere are dedicated carer support workers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Southmead Hospital who can support and advocate on behalf of carers who are either in hospital themselves or are supporting someone who is in hospital. 

Carers Support Centre

The Carers Support Centre is a specialist organization supporting carers across South Gloucestershire and Bristol and the council works closely with the centre to provide a range of support to carers.

The Carers Support Centre provides information, advice and signposting to other organisations who can help carers.

They run a carers support line, organise carers courses and workshops, help with arranging services from GP’s and hospitals and organise social events. They also offer employment support, befriending and peer support and counselling services.   All carers are encouraged to register as a carer with the Carers Support Centre.  It is free to register and means that you will receive information regularly from the Carers Support Centre about events, opportunities and services for carers.

You can also arrange for a carers assessment worker to carry out a Carers Assessment for you to identify areas where you may need support with your caring role.  See below for information on Carers Assessments.

Contact the Carers Support Centre for more information about the services they provide.  Their services are available to all carers and it is not necessary to have received a Carers Assessment to use their services.

How to register as a carer

Connecting Carers is the free, independent register for all carers. It is free of charge, voluntary and is open to all carers who live in South Gloucestershire, or who care for someone living in South Gloucestershire.

Connecting Carers points carers to news and information as well as the Carers Emergency Card.

For more information:

Carers Emergency Card

If you register with the Carers Support Centre as a carer you can also register for a Carers Emergency Card which is a card you carry with you that shows your name, a unique identification number and an emergency phone number. If you have an accident or emergency or you are taken seriously ill, then the card can be used to alert a 24 hour emergency call centre that the person you care for needs help. Steps are then taken to ensure the safety of the person cared for.

When you receive your Carers Emergency Card you will have access to the Carers Emergency Relief Service which is a Rapid Response Service provided by the council.

Registering as a carer with your GP

It is a good idea to register as a carer with your GP surgery, even if the person you care for is registered with another surgery.  Surgeries have a range of different support mechanisms for carers, from a flu jab to easier appointment booking systems.  Some surgeries have the facility for you to register online on their website or you can contact or visit them to register.

Carers Assessments

As a carer you would benefit from a Carers Assessment.   These assessments are useful as they give you the opportunity to reflect on your caring role and to identify areas where you may need support.   It is also an opportunity to find out more about support available to carers.

There is the opportunity to consider what will support you to continue caring, and this may include linking you to support in your community, considering services and support for the person you care for, or specific support for you.  This may include a direct payment to support you in your caring role.

There are several different ways of getting an assessment and the way you get the assessment will depend on your circumstances.   See below for information on assessments if the person you care for:

If the person you care for is receiving no services from the council

You can complete the assessment Getting help and connected.  The form can be completed with or without help from the Carers Support Centre and should be returned to the Carers Support Centre address on the form.   On receipt of the form someone from the Carers Support Centre will call you to arrange to talk through the form with you.  This will enable them to fully understand your situation and make suggestions for possible help.  You can also contact the Carers Support Centre directly if you would like them to complete the assessment with you or if you would like to make a referral to the Carers Support Centre.

Once you have had an assessment, South Gloucestershire Council will be in touch about the outcome and any additional support you might need. 

If the person you care for receives a service or services from the council

You should contact the council to arrange an assessment.  You can choose to have an assessment alongside the person you care for so that their care and support needs are considered alongside your needs as a carer.   You can also have a separate assessment if you prefer.

If you would like to arrange this type of assessment contact the council’s Adult Social Care team:

It is important to note that following an assessment by the council, any services put in place by the council may be chargeable. 

Services provided directly to the person you care for are chargeable, such as day services and help at home.  Support to you as a carer is however free and you will not have to contribute to the cost of this support. 

See the council’s article Paying for adult social care for further information on paying for care services. 

Carers can ask for a re-assessment at any stage. The council also write to carers each year on the anniversary of their assessment to offer a review assessment. 

If the person you care for has mental health difficulties, is working age and receives support from Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust (AWP)

Contact the AWP to find out about a Carers Assessment. 

Further support services and organisations for carers

Many of these services can be accessed by carers without the need for a Carers Assessment.  There may be a charge for these services.

For carers of people with dementia

Alzheimers Society. The UKs leading dementia charity provides support and information for people living with dementia and their carers.

There are several Memory Cafes in South Gloucestershire run by the Alzheimers Society providing a friendly and relaxed space for people living with dementia and their carers to meet with friends and receive help and support. 

“Real life with dementia” is a practical training course for carers of people with dementia run by Beth Tovey at Cambrian Green Day services, Yate.  For more details on how to join the course contact Beth Tovey:

For carers of stroke survivors

Bristol after stroke are an independent charity to help people after stroke.  They provide information and support to carers.  

There are regular stroke cafes in South Gloucestershire for stroke survivors and their carers. 

For carers of those affected by brain injury

Headway are a charity offering support to those affected by brain injury.

Support for young carers

See the council’s article on Young Carers for information and support for anyone under 18 who provides or intends to provide care, assistance or support to any family member (of any age) who is disabled, physically or mentally ill, frail or elderly or is misusing alcohol or substances. More information on support available to young carers can also be found from the Carers Support Centre.

Parent carers

South Glos Parent Carers understand the demands on time and energy for those caring for children and young people with additional needs.

Parents and carers can join an online support group, a relaxed and informal fortnightly evening meet-up to share challenges and celebrate successes with those who truly understand. One-to-one support is also available by arrangement via video call, phone call or email. Visit the South Glos Parent Carers website for further information on the virtual online support available.

Check the South Glos Parent Carers Facebook page for details about their closed Facebook group.

Support group venues:  Various locations in South Gloucestershire

Contact: South Glos Parent Carers

Telephone:01454 501009


Carers groups and courses

Carers groups offer opportunities to meet with other carers, have a chance to chat and share issues and to find out more about the support available to carers.  

The Carers Support Centre also has information about local support groups in South Gloucestershire and they are commissioned by the NHS to run a range of courses for carers. These include Caring with Confidence, End of life Care and First Aid. 

The Hope programme offers a free online course for carers.  The course can help you become more relaxed, improve your confidence in setting positive goals, learn stress and fatigue management skills and explore any worries you experience.  For further details and how to register for the course see the Hope for the community website and our Hope programme poster.

Local support group contact details

All carers:

Emersons Green

  • Venue: Mill House, Emersons Green Way
  • Contact: Cathy Truman-Telephone: 07979 896 064

Frampton Cotterell

  • Venue: Frome Valley Medical Centre
  • Contact:  Sian Erickson- Telephone: 07875 400 301
  • Venue: Carers group, Zion Church, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell, BS36 2HY.
  • Contact: Jean Bradbeer -Telephone:01454 775786, Rona Volkner -Telephone:01454 886925


  • Venue: The Chantry
  • Contact: Sian Erickson- Telephone: 07875 400 301


  • Venue: Yate Library
  • Contact: Cathy Truman-Telephone: 07979 896 064 

Time 4 Carers providing a vibrant programme of subsidised activities for carers









Callington Road

Mental health carers support groups:




Kingswood Care and Share Café-New carers of someone with mental health issues

Rethink - Bristol Siblings Group-People aged 18 or over who have siblings affected by mental illness

Bristol and Avon Chinese women's group:

Bradley Stoke

  • Venue: The Jubilee Centre, Savages Wood Rd, Bradley Stoke,
    Bristol, BS32 8HL
  • Contact: Yan Chen-Telephone:0117 935 1462

South Gloucestershire Chinese Association:

Bradley Stoke

MS Therapy Centre group- For carers of anyone with a neurological

Bradley Stoke

Head injury:

Headway Bristol Carers Group - Carers of those with head injury

Further support for carers

Vita Health group  offer a free confidential 24 hour wellbeing helpline for people who live in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. 

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) work with carers and their families providing advice, support and a range of services.

Carers UK are a national membership charity for carers offering support and advice. 

One You South Gloucestershire is a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing service targeted at adults to help make important, lasting improvement to your health. Our article One You provides more information.

Short breaks for carers

Carers can often find that a break from their caring role is beneficial for their health and wellbeing and their relationship with the person they care for.  These are some examples of short breaks:

Assistive Technology

Carers short breaks do not always mean that the cared for person has to leave their home to stay somewhere else.  Services brought into the home can provide a break for the carer from their caring role.

Technology can be used to provide a service that the carer would normally do such as prompting to take medication.  Items such as memo minders or pill dispensers can be used to remind the cared for person to take their medication.

Other assistive technology is available to enable a person to summon help in an emergency.  Items such as mobile phones, GPS watches, falls sensors or other devices can be used to make someone feel more confident in their home. 

This type of technology can be used to keep a cared for person safe and to allow the carer to have a break from their role.

The council’s Assistive technology article provides more information about this type of technology.

Pop in welfare checks and emergency personal care visits

In an emergency situation it may be possible to arrange for the council’s Rapid Response team to make welfare checks and to provide personal care visits.  These services are only available in certain circumstances and available to carers who have registered with the Carers Support Centre and hold a Carers Emergency Card.

Sitting Service

The Carers Support Centre provides a volunteer sitting service.  The council can also commission sitting services, or they are available through a direct payment to the cared for person, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.  Contact the Carers Support Centre for more details.

Respite Care

Respite care can mean lots of different things and can mean the person you care for having a short stay in a care home, attending a day service or receiving alternative care at home.

You can arrange a short break in a care home yourself or the council can help you to arrange this.  For more information on this type of service contact the council’s Adult Service desk:

There are other services that can be put in place to provide a carer with a short break from their caring role such as day centres, lunch clubs and social activities and short breaks. 

The Carers Support Centre or the council’s Adult Social Care team can provide more information about these services.

For information about short breaks for parents and carers of children and young people under 18 see our article Types of short breaks available and how to access them.

Advocacy Support for carers

Sometimes people need some additional help to get their views across. This can be especially important when decisions need to be made about things such as care and support arrangements for carers and the person they care for.

This type of support is called Advocacy and an advocate is a person who puts a case across on someone else's behalf.

Advocacy may be provided to a carer at any stage of their caring journey, for example when the person they care for has moved into residential or nursing care, as the carer may still play an ongoing role in relation to their care and support.

Find information on Advocacy services on the council’s website.

Financial support for carers

The Carers Support Centre provides financial information to assist with issues such as budgeting, benefits, help with household bills and concessionary travel.  

Carers Allowance is a government benefit which is available to carers who provide care for 35 hours per week.  For further information and eligibility criteria see the GOV.UK website. 

The Money Advice Service provides information on financial benefits available to carers and people living with a disability. 

The council has a web page with information about benefits available for people living with a disability.

The South Gloucestershire Council website also has information on current support available to those who are struggling financially with the cost of living, including details of face-to-face support and advice that is available.