We know that caring for a family member, loved one or friend can be challenging, and recognise the importance of ensuring that there is access to support and information as and when needed. Our free support service is available across Suffolk for all adult family carers (age 18+), offering a range of information, support and community based activities to support the family carer role.
Available Monday- Friday between 9am-2pm with a dedicated carer support officer to take your call. We can chat to you about your caring role, signpost and refer to to her organisations who may be able to help you, and offer you a friend, listening ear. Out of these times, we would encourage you to leave a message, but also take a look at our useful information page to see details of other organisations who may be able to help.
This carers card is a simple, plastic, credit card size form of carer identification (non photo ID) that verifies your carer status. Each carers card has a unique reference number and the card can be used in situations where you may have needed to provide proof of carer status, for example in a supermarket queue- meaning that you do not haver to carry all your carer paperwork with you at all times.
We work closely with a specialist counselling organisation in Suffolk to offer free carer counselling (subject to meeting appropriate criteria) for carers in the county. This is delivered through a six week course in person or online (subject to availability). Referrals for this service can only be made through a carer conversation with our carer support officer and can be subject to a waiting time.
Suffolk Carers Natter
Our community engagement groups for family carers work on a simple model of a cuppa and cake, building support and friendships with other family carers who may be sharing similar challenges. Facilitated by one of our carer co-ordinators, these groups are held fortnightly* in community hospitality settings across the county, for 6-8 weeks. After this time, it is hoped that the groups will continue themselves, having built up a network of friendship and support, both face to face and digitally where required. For details of where and when there is a Suffolk Carers Natter, see Communities Together East Anglia.
*in locations where we have other community engagement groups, these may be monthly sessions over a longer period of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you help me?
Suffolk Carers Matter strive to support unpaid Carers across Suffolk. We aim to support by providing information, advice and guidance. We can also make onward referrals to other organisations and services. We keep in regular contact with carers who are registered with us, offering a personalised service that is tailored to the individual support that a carer needs.
What different types of carers are there?
Family Carer : you may be caring for your partner, adult sibling or other relative or even a dear friend or neighbour.
Parent Carer : you are caring for your son/daughter/other – this of course might mean you are caring for an under 18 or caring for an over 18 (eg a parent caring for a child or a parent caring for a 40 year old)
Sandwich Carer : you are caring for two or more people of varying generations and you are the person in the middle (eg you might be caring for a child plus an older relative (hence the sandwich terminology !)
What services do you offer?
Upon registration, we issue the Carer with our Carers Card with their unique registration number & ask them to sign the back and keep on their person. This card can act as proof of being a Carer, but may also help you access other things such as priority access supermarket slots, Carer discounts at attractions as well as proof of Carer status when accompanying someone to an appointment. As members of the Suffolk Information Partnership/Warm Handover Service, we can make onward referrals to other support organisations and statutory services.
Some geographically specific projects to support family carers and the cared for in community settings. We also work with MTCIC to provide free carer counselling.
Is this a referred service?
A Carer can self refer into our services or indeed a professional can refer a Carer to our services. We do not solely accept one or the other and we receive a mixture of types of referrals all the time.
Do you offer counselling / support?
As part of our services, we offer FREE blocks of Carers Counselling. This is after a Carer has registered with our services & submitted the Core form back to the counselling service and it has been assessed. Occasionally a Carer may not be accepted to this particular service due to their scores/answers. Please note that the counselling service is an opportunity to access support relating to the caring role specifically & is not intended to provide any alternative – for example it is not bereavement counselling. One block is offered to a Carer and thereafter becomes a chargeable service. Our Friday Zoom sessions offer a virtual opportunity to speak with us and to meet other carers.
What does Unpaid Family Carer mean?
When we talk about ‘unpaid family carers’ we are talking about people caring for family members, neighbours and friends. Some may receive Carers Allowance, but this doesn’t mean they are employed. Some Carers balance working and Caring and this is usually acceptable.
This service is not intended for those employed by care agencies or care homes (who would be classed as employed/paid carers). This is a service for adults.
Is there a minimum or maximum age?
Yes. We work with peopled aged 18+ and refer anyone under the age of 18 to Suffolk Family Carers and their commissioned Young Carers service. We do not have a structured Young Carers service in our organisation but can refer across to the commissioned Young Carers service at Suffolk Family Carers. We have no maximum age. Frequently we find a variety of scenarios whereby one person is caring for another in a family/home environment.
Are you able to offer carers assessments?
No, we are not at currently commissioned to undertake Carers Assessments on behalf of Suffolk County Council. When we register a Carer we can offer to refer to Customer First at Suffolk County Council and they will assign someone to undertake this. We can also refer in to Suffolk County Council for Care Needs Assessments for the Cared-For.
Which organisations do you work with?
We work across the county with statutory and voluntary sector organisations that support family carers including Suffolk Family Carers, Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust and Dementia Connect, as well as support organisations such as PACT, Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance and Stowmarket Dementia Action Alliance.
What is the difference between you and Suffolk Family Carers?
Suffolk Family Carers hold the county commissioned contract for family carers. This means that they are contracted to support family carers across Suffolk with a wide range of services. We would always encourage every family carer to register with Suffolk Family Carers as well as with ourselves so that carers can access the very best support possible.
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