We are an independent local charity. Our purpose is to improve the lives of people living in Gateshead who care for someone who has a chronic illness, disability or addiction.
Carers provide a range of support, such as:
practical tasks, such as cooking meals, housework and shopping
physical care, such as helping someone out of bed
personal care, such as helping someone wash, dress and feed
dealing with challenging behaviour
helping someone to communicate or translating on their behalf
supervising children or siblings
According to the last census, there are more than 22,000 carers living in Gateshead. Of these, over 1,600 are under 25. Most live in one of the most deprived areas in the country. While the majority will provide up to 19 hours of care per week, over 200 reported providing more than 50 hours.
According to the 2014 Gateshead Carer Survey, significant proportions of adult carers reported their health as being ‘average’ to ‘very poor’; stated that their health was worse due to their caring role; and that they felt tired, depressed and affected by stress.
More recently, our own Young Carer Health Review indicated high levels of tiredness, poor sleep, feeling ‘sad’ or ‘low’, and nervousness among children and young people caring for a family member.
Additionally, caring responsibility can have a significant impact on income, employability, educational attainment and social inclusion.
We provide services that enable carers to maintain their caring role, have a life of their own, and sustain their own wellbeing. This includes high quality information, advice and advocacy; opportunities to have a break from caring; and specialist services that reduces the impact of caring for young carers.
Services are provided within three key themes, with a dedicated team for each. These are support for young carers, short breaks for adult carers, and community outreach support.
The Care Service provides a number of interventions designed to provide adult carers with a break from their caring role. Home Based Services provide a regular worker that takes over the caring role while the family carer undertakes an activity of their choice. This can take place any time of the day or night, seven days a week, and include overnight stays. Take Out Services enable carers to spend time in their own home whilst the person they care for goes out in their local community. Clients are free to choose an activity that they enjoy, accompanied by one of our Carer Support Workers. Daybreak Services provide a safe and secure environment at our centre for people with short-term memory loss and onset dementia. They can maintain a level of independence, feel less isolated, share experiences and are encouraged to take part in health and wellbeing – promoting activities, tailored to their ability. This enables carers to have a break from their caring role in their own homes. Take a Break Services provide a planned break to carers that help to improve life quality and allow time for rest and relaxation. We provide access to funds and support carers to plan a break of their choice.
The Community Team provides a range of information, advice and practical and emotional support to adult carers. This includes carer-related benefits support and advice up to appeal tribunal level. Community outreach support can meet carers in their homes or local areas and offer advocacy, housing support, liaising with other agencies and access to other external specialist support. The team includes a mental health carer support service that provides practical advice and emotional support to adults who care for someone with a mental health condition. They also organise regular local carer drop-ins.
For information on our support to young carers, please visit our Carers Trust Tyne and Wear Young Carer Service page on Our Gateshead.
Based on last year’s annual review:
We delivered more than 40,000 hours of relief care that enabled adults to have a break from their caring role and take part in activities such as going to the gym, visiting family or friends or simply relaxing.
Young adults with learning difficulties spent 62 nights at our residential centre, providing short breaks to 14 young adults with learning difficulties and respite for their families.
432 short breaks were organised for adult carers.
Over 80% of carers reported feeling more able to continue in their caring role following our support to have a break and 76% reported feeling ‘less stressed’.
Young adults with learning difficulties also attended our summer daycentre service, where they were able to socialise with other young people whilst their families received respite.
94% of carers reported being ‘more financially secure’, having ‘more choices’ and being more aware of their rights after accessing our services.
At a professional and strategic level, we encourage and support better practice in other agencies, through work such as:
Co-delivery of ‘carer awareness’ training alongside the local NHS Mental Health Trust to mental health practitioners.
Co-delivery of Common Assessment Framework training alongside the Local Authority to staff from the Gateshead children’s workforce.
Working with our Young Carer Expert Panels to create resources for health and education professionals that encourage proactive identification, recognition and support.
Training for school staff and support for them to achieve the national Young Carers in Schools Award for the quality of their young carer provision.
Creating local awareness-raising campaigns, often to coincide with Carers Week.
Representing carers at the local Carers’ Partnership, Mental Health and Wellbeing Board, Voluntary Sector Advisory Group, Carer Involvement Group within the local Psychosis Team, and facilitating consultation and information sharing between adult carers and mental health clinicians.
At a national level, we are able to join the campaigns of the wider Carers Trust, the largest single agency supporting carers in the UK, as well as partners such as The Children’s Society and Carers UK. This ensures that young and adult carers are able to take part in national research and consultations, as well initiatives such as the Young Carers in Schools Award and Young Carers in Focus.