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CarersLine is our confidential information and support service for carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. You can contact us with any questions or concerns that you have, to do with your caring role.

We help you look at your options and provide information so that you can make informed choices. We make time for everyone who contacts us and understand the difficulties that carers face. We are here to listen to your concerns.

CarersLine is open at these times:
Mon – Fri          10am – 1pm
Mon – Thurs     2pm – 4pm

An answerphone operates outside of these hours and your call will be returned when the helpline next opens.

Alternatively, you can email with your enquiry at any time and you will receive a personal reply the same or next working day.

We can help with:

  • Benefits and other financial matters affecting carers, including debt
  • Breaks from caring and other ways of looking after yourself
  • Juggling work and care
  • Where to start in getting help at home
  • Support for carers in health settings
  • Aids and adaptations
  • Transport and travel issues
  • Guidance with form filling and where to go for further help
  • Managing other people’s affairs
  • Other free services including one-to-one support, carers groups and the carers emergency card.

Who is the service for?

All kinds of people contact us. Some are full time carers whilst others may not actually think of themselves as carers.  They just see themselves as ‘keeping an eye’ on an elderly parent, helping a partner to get showered or preparing meals for a friend or neighbour.

It could be that the person you care for is starting to need more care: perhaps you are no longer able to provide as much support as you did. Or you may suddenly have found yourself in a caring role and are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start to find out about what help is available.

We support carers in all these situations. We are here to share your concerns, to try to answer your questions and to provide you with accurate local information.

Tom didn’t know where to start

Tom contacted us because his elderly father was becoming increasingly frail and was moving to Bristol to be nearer him. Tom had found suitable housing but didn’t know where to start with getting help at home for his Dad.  Tom has his own health issues and cannot take on a full caring role without some support.

The CarersLine email service offered guidance on local community based provision and how to get services in place for his Dad; with information about how to arrange a needs assessment. We also suggested that Tom’s Dad might apply for Attendance Allowance and a Blue Badge, and advised on how to get help with filling in the forms.

We also wanted to make sure that Tom has the support that he needs. We suggested that he consider a carer’s assessment to discuss his caring role and how this impacts on him. One of our carers support officers visited Tom at home to carry out the assessment and look at what support may help. As a result Tom attended one of our carers’ courses which made him feel more confident about his caring role.

CarersLine was able to provide the local knowledge that saved him having to do a lot of research and make lots of telephone calls.

Sam worries about what the future holds for her daughter

Sam cares for her 17 year old daughter who has M.E. She phoned CarersLine because her daughter has had to give up college. Sam is worried about what the future holds for her daughter.  She was also uncertain about how her daughter leaving college may affect the family benefits.

She mentioned that her daughter’s Disability Living Allowance was ending and she has been asked to claim Personal Independence Payment.  Sam was really worried about this as they have had lots of problems with benefits in the past.

CarersLine helped Sam identify what she needs to do next and how her daughter leaving education may affect her benefits.  We told her about benefits that her daughter may now be able to claim.

Sam was also given information about moving from DLA to PIP and signposted to local organisations that may be able to help her with filling in the claim form.

We encouraged Sam to have a carer’s assessment to make sure that she is getting the support she needs in her caring role. We also put her in touch with her local carers’ support group so she can talk to other carers who share similar experiences.

Anne wants to get back to work

Anne cares for her husband who had a stroke a year ago. Although there are some improvements he still needs a lot of care. Anne wants to get back to work, just doing a few hours, and she wondered how this may affect her Carers Allowance. She has also heard about carer’s assessments but had no idea what they are or how to arrange one.

Anne emailed the CarersLine service and asked for a phone call back. We called Anne with the information she was looking for and helped her arrange a carer’s assessment.

We discussed her Carers Allowance and how much she can earn before her benefit would be affected. We also gave her information about the rights that carers have in work and told her about our Carers in Paid Employment project, in case she should need their advice around work issues.

Anne was also pleased to find out about the Carers Emergency Card as she felt this would give her real peace of mind when she was away from  home.

Names have been changed in these case studies.
Last updated: August 2016