New information, advice and support service for carers
Referral form download here.
Information, advice and support services for family carers in Reading and West Berkshire are now – from 1 November 2022 – provided by the Reading and West Berkshire Carers Partnership. The partnership consists of Reading Mencap, Age UK Berkshire, Age UK Reading and CommuniCare.
The service will help carers:
- Get support to help them in their caring role
- Find local services and sources of help
- Look after their health and wellbeing
- Connect with other carers
- Understand their rights
- Get a Carer’s Assessment (for Reading-based carers).
Who to contact and where to go for support:
If you are caring for an adult over the age of 50 in Reading, please contact Age UK Reading for information, advice and Carers’ Assessments.
Call 07716418941 or email email@example.com.
Age UK Reading is based at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading RG1 7JS.
If you are caring for a child or adult with a learning disability in Reading, please contact Reading Mencap for information, advice and Carers’ Assessments.
Call 0118 966 2518 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading Mencap is based at 21 Alexandra Road, Reading RG1 5PE.
If you are caring for an adult over the age of 50 who lives in West Berkshire, please contact Age UK Berkshire .
Call 0118 950 4242 or email email@example.com
Age UK Berkshire is based at Unit 119, Broad Street Mall, Reading RG1 7QA.
CommuniCare is supporting all other carers in Reading and West Berkshire (you are caring for someone under the age of 50 who doesn’t have a learning disability).
Call 0118 926 3941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CommuniCare is based at 233 Kings Road, Reading RG1 4LS.
Ask for a Carer’s Assessment
The Care Act gives all unpaid carers the legal right to an assessment of their needs, called a Carer’s Assessment. This gives you the opportunity to talk about your needs as a carer and what would help you with your caring responsibilities.
Carers are entitled to an assessment in their own right regardless of whether or not the person they care for has had one or wants one.
There is no charge for an assessment. Many councils use guidelines to determine if people are able to receive services, which means the needs identified in the assessment will be compared against the council’s eligibility criteria.
Carers who are not assessed as being able to receive services should be given information about local voluntary organisations and services that can be accessed independently.
About the Assessment
A Carer’s Assessment is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers. It gives you the opportunity to reflect upon how caring affects your life and how your needs may be met by social services or other support agencies.
It will include:
- Tasks undertaken and time involved
- Difficulties encountered in caring
- How you feel about your caring role
- How you are coping with the level of care you are providing
- What would you do in an emergency
- What impact caring is having on your health and well-being, employment, study and leisure interests
- What help and support would improve the situation
How to get the most out of an assessment
You should think of an assessment as your chance to tell social services about the sorts of things that would make caring easier for you.
It may be helpful to think about the sorts of tasks undertaken for the person you care for, such as:
- Help with dressing, washing, shopping, banking, medication
- How it’s affecting your relationships with other people
- If the person being cared for is getting enough help
- If you are getting enough or any time to yourself to take a break or enjoy a hobby or leisure activity
- If caring is having an impact on your own health.
What sort of help could I get?
The sort of help you may get include:
- Practical support to help look after the person you care for
- Respite care, breaks and a personal budget to help relieve the stress of caring
- Adaptations, alarms and equipment
- Advice and support on managing stress and looking after your health
- Emergency back-up planning.
Carer’s Personal Budget
When Reading Borough Council look at your Carer’s Assessment, they may offer you:
- advice and support to help you manage caring and look after your own health
- information about local organisations and groups supporting carers
- a Carer’s Personal Budget
If you meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Care Act and if you have identified things you would like to buy to help you in your caring role, Reading Borough Council may offer you a Carer’s Personal Budget.
The sorts of things that carers have used a Personal Budget for in the past include:
- kitchen equipment
- IT equipment
- massage sessions.
Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers.
It is a benefit paid to help people who look after someone who is disabled. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. It is paid at a basic rate of £69.70 a week (from April 2022). That’s £3,624.40 a year.
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you are 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week or more for someone who is ill or disabled. You can get Carer’s Allowance if you are caring for someone who is in receipt of DLA or PIPs at the middle or highest rate for personal care. Your earnings must be £132 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses.
Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record. Your State Pension is based on your National Insurance record.
Your income, savings or investments won’t affect eligibility for Carer’s Credit.
Carer’s Credit it a way of protecting your State Pension rights if you are looking after someone but are not paying National Insurance contributions through paid work and are unable to claim Carer’s Allowance.
You could get Carer’s Credit if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week.
The person you’re looking after must get one of the following:
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment – daily living component, at the standard or enhanced rate
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
If the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of these benefits, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit. When you apply, fill in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application form and get a health or social care professional to sign it.
You don’t need to apply for Carer’s Credit if you:
- get Carer’s Allowance – you’ll automatically get credits
- get Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12 – you’ll automatically get credits
- are a foster carer – you can apply for National Insurance credits instead.
To apply, you can call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321 or textphone 0345 604 5312.
To find out more, please visit www.gov.uk/carers-credit
Carer’s emergency plan
Do you ever worry what might happen to the person you care for if the unexpected happened?
A carer’s emergency plan sets out who should be contacted and what needs to be done to make sure the person you care for is safe and supported in your absence. It provides peace of mind that support is available if if you are delayed, taken ill, stuck in traffic or involved in an accident.
Call us on 07716418941 or email email@example.com if you would like help to draw up an emergency plan. If you have a carers assessment it will form part of that assessment.
In case of emergency (ICE) numbers
Don’t forgot to put ICE numbers ‘In Case of Emergency’ on your mobile phone. In the unlikely event of your being involved in an emergency it’s helpful if you save the telephone number of people you would like contacted in this easily recognisable format. This will allow the emergency services or anyone else to use your phone to call people who need to be informed. You can save the numbers under ICE1, ICE2 and so on.
Other useful numbers:
- Out-of-hours emergency social work duty team: 01344 786543
- GP out-of-hours service: 111
Smart way to shop for carers
Did you know there are offers, benefits and discounts available exclusively for carers and people with care needs. Once you are a member you can benefit from a wide range of offers, including:
- Cash back on shopping from major retailers – like Boots, Argos, Sainsbury, M&S, B&Q and Apple
- Best rates from energy providers
- Reductions on insurance renewals
- Discounts on holidays and travel arrangements
- Reduced price lifestyle activities – Legoland, Costa Coffee, Fitness First
- Free legal advice services
Register free at www.carersmart.org
CarerSmart is provided by Carers Trust.