Voluntary sector

The voluntary or charity sector plays an important role in providing services in the community.  These organisations each serve a specific client group and, although they may make a charge for their services, they are non-profit-making.

Local authorities have few remaining in-house support services. So after assessing your needs, a Health or Social Care professional is likely to refer or signpost you to a voluntary organisation for on-going support.  You can also seek out organisations that you think may be able to help you. Use the links below to find more information.

Local organisations which provide services for carers
These local organisations provide services and support to carers. This is not a full listing. To find other local organisations, see local listings and directories below.

Alzeimhers Society
Support services for people who care for someone living with dementia. Includes carers’ support groups, singing for the brain, dementia cafe, social drop-ins, befriending, advice and information.

Age UK Bristol
Information and advice, advocacy service for people moving into care homes, telephone befriending, activities, computer learning.

Age UK South Glos
Information and advice, Day Services (inc. activity clubs for respite days), nail cutting, befriending, gardening and insurance services.

Avon & Bristol Law Centre
Gives free legal advice and advocacy for unwaged and low paid people and for people experiencing unlawful discrimination.

Avon North Mencap
Works with people with a learning disability, their families and carers. Provides support and information on healthcare, education, housing, leisure and benefits.

Bristol Black Carers
Information and advice, training, carers support group, support to  black carers.

Bristol Area Stroke Association
Offer guidance and support to carers on life after a stroke.

Bristol Area Stroke Foundation
Social, emotional and practical support to stroke affected individuals and their carers.

Bristol and Avon Chinese Womens Group
Assistance, advice, representation and services to improve the quality of life of Chinese women.

Bristol Mind
Information about mental health and local services. Has a confidential freephone helpline to support residents in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Bristol Parkinson’s Society
Offer information, friendship and support to local people with Parkinson’s, their families and carers.

The Care Forum
Promotes health and well-being, challenge inequalities and enables organisations and individuals to make choices in health and social care. They provide a range of services including an advocacy service which ranges from self–help and advice through to full advocacy casework.

They host Bristol and South Glos Local Involvement Networks (LINks). LINks give individuals and community groups the chance to have their say in the health and adult social care services that they use. They collect issues and concerns from their local communities and feed these back to the service providers to make sure that changes are made for the better.

Citizens Advice Bureau
Provides free, impartial advice and information on a range of issues, including employment, housing and debt. Their national website provides comprehensive information on benefits and debt.

Bristol CAB
South Gloucestershire CAB

Community Transport
Transport schemes for people who cannot easily use public transport. The following schemes operate locally:

Bristol Community Transport
Provides a fleet of accessible vehicles which can be hired by not-for-profit organisations in and around Bristol.

Kingswood Community Transport
For residents of South Gloucestershire. They provide accessible vehicles for people who cannot easily use public transport, including a doctors shuttle and regular shopping trips.

Green Community Travel
For South Gloucestershire residents: their volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to transport local people, taking them to doctor’s or dental appointments or to visit friends or relatives in hospital.

Four Towns and Vale Community Transport
Provide free essential travel in South Gloucestershire for Diamond Travel Card holders as well as social trips for leisure.

Dhek Bhal (South Asian carers’ support)
Provides respite for carers of South Asian elders through a sitting service, a daycentre service, an outreach support scheme, and a carer support group.

Dial-a-ride
Provides door-to-door, fully accessible transport services to disabled and older people who are unable to use public transport.

Hawkspring
Hawkspring offers a ‘whole family’ approach to drug and alcohol support services.  Hawkspring is a merger between two Bristol based charities Hawks and Kwads.

Home Farm Trust
A national charity providing local support services for people with learning difficulties.

Driving and Mobility Centre, West of England
They can carry out assessments for both driver and passenger needs, and have a range of fully adapted cars including wheelchair accessible vehicles for you to try. Their occupational therapist can give you advice on choosing the right wheelchair or scooter.

Macmillan
Use the search facility on their web to find local cancer information centres which offer benefits advice and counselling. If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just someone to talk to, call free, Monday to Friday 9am-8pm: 0808 808 00 00

Marie Curie
See their website for information or Marie Curie nurses and hospices.

One Stop Shops South Gloucestershire
Information and advice clinics and surgeries operate regularly in Patchway, Yate and Kingswood.

Rethink Carers Service
Help for carers who provide support towards the mental well-being of a family member or friend. Includes one-to-one meetings and telephone support, educational seminars, signposting to other agencies, group support, hospital liaison service, events and information and clarification about your rights.

Talking Money
Provide free, independent debt advice, energy advice and financial education.  Was previously called Bristol Debt Advice Centre.

WECare and Repair
Works with anyone over 60, and disabled people of all ages, in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire areas. Help people to live independently in their own homes.

www to work
Offers internet focused job seeking sessions for disabled people and their carers.

Parent carer organisations
Bristol Parent Carers
A group of parents who care for children and young people with disabilities and special needs. They provide information and advice to parent carers, and work with service providers to improve support available to families.

South Glos parents and carers forum
Formerly Our Voice Matters. A group of parents and carers in South Gloucestershire who care for children and young people with disabilities and special needs. They provide information and advice to parent carers, and work with service providers to improve support available to families.

Local listings and directories

Wellaware
Database of health, wellbeing and community services in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset (managed by the Care Forum).

1 Big Database (1BigD)
A directory of services, community and voluntary organisations, clubs and groups in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Advicewest
Directory of independent advice services providing high-quality legal advice to the public in Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and surrounding areas.

National sources of information an online chat rooms

Carers Trust (formerly the Princess Royal Trust for Carers)
The Carers’ Support Centre (Bristol and South Glos) is one of over 140 carers centres, which belongs to this networking organisation. Their website provides comprehensive information on money and benefits and getting help e.g. respite care, employment, holidays, transport, bereavement. They also run an online discussion forum and chat room for carers.

Carers Direct
Carers Direct is the official NHS website for carers. It gives practical information on financial help, advice on getting a break from caring, going to work and much more. You can also go online and join their Carers Community discussion forum, or discuss what it’s like being a carer with one of their team of carer bloggers.

Mencap
Learning Disability Helpline: 0808 808 1111
This is an advice and information service for people with a learning disability, their families and carers. Community-based advisors can also give advice and information about community care, benefits, education, jobs, housing, holidays, family and personal relationships.