A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This may be due to a physical or learning disability, mental health condition, long-term illness, addiction or substance misuse. So parents of children and young people with SEND are parent/carers, brothers and sisters could be young carers. Grand parents may also be carers and require support and information at times and so on. It is important to spell this out because we know from speaking to some parents, and also young people, that they don't recognise themselves as "carers" just family, doing what family do - caring. Families may not realise that there is a support network available.
Things that might affect carers include:
- Deteriorating emotional health and wellbeing
- Deteriorating physical health and wellbeing
- Worsening medical conditions
- Social isolation
- Loss of a sense of identity
- Financial difficulties
- Difficulties concentrating at work/school
- Difficulties maintaining relationships
Local organisations that are dedicated to supporting carers in Kingston and Richmond
Kingston Carers' Network (KCN)
Kingston Carers’ Network (KCN) is a local registered charity, providing independent information, advice, advocacy and support to people who care for someone living in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.
KCN support carers of all ages, including young carers aged 5 to 18.
How we help carers?
KCN aims to ensure that carers:
- Enjoy good physical and emotional health and wellbeing
- Are recognised and respected as expert care partners
- Are given information about services and support available to carers
- Are listened to and supported by providing a ‘listening ear’
- Have a life outside of caring through engaging in activities, outings and social events
- Are well-informed and know about their rights, benefits and allowances
- Have support to access benefits and allowances
- Can access training and information to meet their caring needs
- Receive regular support through groups and drop-ins
- Get equal access to services
- Are encouraged to recognise their own needs and to get their status acknowledged
- Are kept informed of national and local policies that affect carers
- Are consulted and have input to service planning and delivery
Richmond Carers Centre
Richmond Carers Centre supports unpaid carers( including young carers) in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. They offer advice, information and emotional support to carers over the phone, by email and in person at the centre. This includes support navigating the social care system, signposting and referrals to other organisations and listening support. Carers who register with Richmond Carers Centre can also access services such as carers’ workshops, regular group activities, short breaks and trips, counselling, complimentary therapies and our quarterly newsletter. Feedback from carers has shown that it is the emotional support they receive over a period of time and knowing that support is there that really helps.
Richmond Care and Support website (opens a new window) is a service provided in partnership by the Council, the Community Independent Living Service, Richmond Carers Hub and Healthwatch Richmond.
National organisations that support carers
Carers UK is the national organisation that provides information advice and support for carers. They campaign nationally and raise awareness of carers issues. They have an active online forum which is a warm and welcoming community and is a place where you can share what's on your mind, day and night. You can talk about real issues with people who understand and who can support you through everything caring has to throw at you.
Jointly is an app developed by Carers UK (opens a new window) which combines group messaging and to-do lists with other useful features, including medication lists, calendar and more. Jointly makes communication and coordination between those who share the care as easy as a text message.
Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers.They work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
They do this with a UK wide network of quality assured independent partners and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives.
With locally based Network Partners they are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks.
They offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individually tailored support and group activities.