Support for carers

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a family member or friend who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support. 

This section provides information to carers of adults who want to know how to ask for an assessment of their own needs.

You are a carer if you provide unpaid help to someone who depends upon you because of: 

  • frailty 
  • mental or physical health problems 
  • illness or drug/alcohol misuse 

You may not live in the same house, and you don’t have to be related to the person you care for. 

Carer’s assessment 

You have a right to advice and a ‘carer’s assessment’ of your own needs. You don't have to be providing a lot of care to be entitled to help. You can have a carer’s assessment even if the person you care for hasn't had an assessment themselves. Alternatively, if you and the person you care for prefer, we can assess both your needs at the same time. This is known as a combined assessment. 

Our Carers’ guide and strategy 

Northumberland family and friends carers' guide (currently under review) explains the types of help and support you need as a carer and how to access it. It also explains in detail how a needs assessment can help you and makes suggestions about how to prepare for it. 
For further information, please contact Carers Northumberland or contact Onecall on: 


Carers’ wellbeing checklist 

Northumberland carers’ health and wellbeing checklist aims to help you think about your own health, how your role affects your life and to consider things you can change. The purpose of the wellbeing check is to help you access health interventions and to continue caring safely, without your own health suffering 

  • Ask your care manager, or any professional you work with for a hard copy or contact Carers Northumberland on 01670 320025  

Carers Northumberland 

Carers Northumberland is a support service for carers in Northumberland. It works in partnership with other agencies to offer a one-stop information service to carers, support groups, short break opportunities and events. 

ESCAPE Family Support

ESCAPE Family Support provide support across Northumberland for people who are affected by a loved one’s drugs and alcohol use.
ESCAPE offers a range of activities and trauma informed services to achieve improved psychological, physical and mental wellbeing. These include courses, health & wellbeing workshops and activities, both face-to-face and online.
To find out more visit:
You can contact ESCAPE via their 24/7 helpline: 07702 833 944
Or via the contact details below:
The Susan Kennedy Centre
South View
NE63 0SF
Tel: 01670 544055
Information about benefits for carers

What benefits can I receive as a carer? 

There are a range of benefits, tax credits and other financial support you may be able to receive as a carer. To  find out which benefits you could be eligible for as a carer, visit or talk to us on 01670 536 400. You can also ask the care manager of the person you care for or ring Carers Northumberland on 01670 320 025. 

What is a Carer’s Allowance? 

Carer's Allowance is a benefit that may be paid to carers of working age who provide more than 35 hours of care a week. Entitlement is linked to the benefits paid to the person being cared for. However, you don't have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.  

Information about free online support for carers.


Mobilise is a free service available to Northumberland residents, run by carers for carers. They offer: 

  • Regular e-support packages with information, practical advice, and entertainment 
  • Virtual cuppas for anybody needing some social contact 
  • One-to-one coaching support for anybody with a knotty problem they’d like to work out. 

To find out more or sign-up visit: 

Information about a carer's assessment

What is a Carer’s Assessment? 

If you provide a lot of care regularly to a relative or friend and your role is having an impact on your life, you have the right to ask for a carer’s assessment. A carer's assessment is your opportunity to tell social care about what could make caring easier for you. You can discuss help you need to maintain your own health and to balance caring with other aspects of your life, like work and family. 
You also have a right to an assessment if: 

  • You intend to look after someone. 
  • You are caring for a disabled child (your needs as a carer will be considered as part of the needs of your child). 


The services that might be provided to carers include: 

  • Substitute care to enable you to have a break from your caring role. 
  • Support with particular tasks or equipment to help you care. 
  • Advice and support in your role as a carer. 
  • Benefits information and advice. 

A carer’s assessment is a detailed discussion with a trained member of staff, which will produce a statement of what your needs are, what you can do to reduce them or prevent them from getting worse. If caring is having a significant impact on your wellbeing, the assessment may suggest you are entitled to support. 
You don’t have to have a carer’s assessment to get advice about available support. The countywide organisation Carers Northumberland, a charity partly funded by the council, can provide advice and support with a wide range of issues. It can also put you in touch with other people in a similar situation. 

  • Carers Northumberland can also talk to you about whether having a carer’s assessment would be helpful to you. 

If the person who you are providing care and support to is having a needs assessment themselves, you will need to be involved in this assessment. We recommend you also have a carer’s assessment. We can then make sure you have the help and information you need to look after your own health and wellbeing, and ensure we take account of your needs when planning how to meet theirs. Find out how you can get advice or an assessment here.

If you have had an assessment but either your needs or the needs of the person you care for have changed, you should contact the care manager again to request a review. 

You can request a carer’s assessment by contacting Onecall on 01670 536400 or email: 

You can also contact the care manager of the person you care for. 

If you, or someone you know, struggles with everyday tasks, there could be equipment that can help. 

Equipment can protect people from accidents, assist them with the everyday tasks of life and/or make it easier to provide care for them.  It can also help people to move back home from hospital. 

The range of equipment available to make life easier for people who have difficulty with daily tasks is increasing all the time.   A growing range of items are available from high street shops; others can be found in specialist shops, catalogues, or on the internet.  

Health and care professionals can give you advice about equipment, which might help you.   

You can also get impartial advice about what equipment you might find useful from: Disability North East,  

The Dene Centre,  
Castle Farm Road,  
NE3 1PH  

Phone (0191) 284 0480 for an appointment 
Text Direct 18001 0191 284 0480  

Web address  


Listings of private companies offering equipment and advice can also be found in telephone directories, such as Thompson’s or the Yellow Pages, and through using internet search engines.   

Some examples are:  

  • Argos – Mobility aids, bathing equipment, toileting  

equipment, personal aids, tables and trolleys   

The list of suppliers above is an example of where equipment can be purchased and does not mean that we recommend or have approved their products or services. 

If you have social care or health needs you can borrow, free of charge, equipment through the Joint Equipment Loans Service (JELS).  

The types of equipment JELS provide includes: 

  • Beds and chairs 
  • Bathing and showering equipment 
  • Toileting aids 
  • Hoisting and moving and handling equipment 
  • Walking aids and basic wheelchairs 
  • Pressure relief equipment 
  • Equipment specifically designed for children 
  • Equipment for visual and hearing impairments 

A variety of health and social care professionals, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers, care managers, district nurses and health visitors, can assess your needs and if equipment will improve your situation or that of someone you care for, they can arrange equipment from JELS. 

If you are not already in contact with a professional who can advise you, please contact Onecall to request an assessment.   
If you already have equipment loaned through JELS and need to contact them directly, you can do this by ringing 01670 730595, or you can use one of the alternative contact methods listed on the page for Onecall  our single point of access for all adult social care services. 

Who is eligible to borrow equipment? 
The service provides equipment for anyone that needs it, but this decision is made by health or social care professionals including care managers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, district nurses and health visitors. 

How long does it take to get equipment? 
JELS are open Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4pm, JELS aim to deliver standard stock items of equipment within ten working days on receipt of a routine request; five working days for urgent requests and 48 hours for emergency requests. 

However, if your assessed need is for an item of equipment that is not held as standard stock and must be ordered in it may take considerably longer than equipment delivery timeframes. 
How is equipment delivered?  
The delivery vans regularly go to all areas in Northumberland and will deliver your equipment at the first suitable opportunity.  When JELS are delivering the equipment requested for you, you will be phoned the day before the planned delivery day to make sure that you will be in. 

Using the equipment 
In most case the person who requested the equipment for you will need to visit you after it has been delivered, to set it up and show you, or your carers, how to use it safely. 

Returning the equipment 
If the equipment you have loaned through JELS is no longer needed, you can arrange for it to be collected by calling 01670 730595 or you can return it direct to JELS between 8am and 3.30pm Monday to Thursday and between 8am and 3pm on Fridays, at:

Joint Equipment Loans Service 
Northumberland County Council 
43 Colbourne Crescent 
Nelson Park Industrial Estate 
NE23 1WB 

If your assessed need is a wheelchair JELS can provide basic models of wheelchairs for short term needs.   

However, if your need is a wheelchair for long term use, more specialist wheelchair specification, postural support to the wheelchair or powered wheelchair these are all provided by through Northumbria Healthcare Trust's wheelchair service who can be contacted on 0191 282 8958. 

Wheelchair services accept referrals from healthcare professionals only, you can ask your GP or consultant to refer you to them. 

Telecare community alarms service and equipment 
Our telecare service can provide you with some additional security for your wellbeing at home. The service is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. 

You can find out more in the Telecare section below.

Our telecare service can provide you with some additional security for your wellbeing at home. The service is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. 

 You can be provided with telecare equipment which can detect specific events such as if you have a fall, or the presence of smoke in your home, and it will automatically raise the alarm, so appropriate assistance can be provided. 
This is in addition to the community alarm service provided for older and vulnerable people in Northumberland. 
How does it work? 
‘Intelligent’ sensors can be installed in your home which can indicate if you are in danger. You don’t need to take any action yourself for the telecare sensors to send the signal. 
The signals go to the community alarm ‘lifeline unit’ which is connected by a conventional phone socket to a call centre where a trained operator receives the signal. The operator knows whose home the signal is from and can speak to you. They will also know the telephone numbers of your carers, relatives, GP and of the emergency services. They will take appropriate action and will stay on the line to offer reassuring advice until help arrives. 
The team is made up trained call handlers and mobile wardens based in Northumberland. 
Telecare wardens, health and social care professionals can make referrals for telecare equipment. This includes care managers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, keyworkers, specialist social workers, and district nurses. You can also self-refer for the service or refer family & friends. 
If you think you would benefit from a telecare service, you can contact Telecare on 01670 827 100 or email the team via 
You can also speak to your care manager or any of the other health and social care professionals who are involved in your care.