What is a Carers Centre?
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers works to reach carers and develop services for carers across the country through its nationwide network of 144 Carers Centres. Carers Centres are independent charities that deliver a wide range of local support services to meet the needs of carers in their own communities. All Carers Centres provide, either by telephone, drop-in or outreach surgeries, the following core services:
- Information and advice - about all issues affecting carers, including benefits, breaks, respite and support services, carer assessment procedures, aids and adaptations
- Emotional support - by providing opportunities for carers to talk through their concerns, both individually and in group sessions, with staff, trained volunteers and other carers who understand their situation, thus helping to alleviate isolation and stress
- Community consultation - carers need a unified voice in any locality to ensure that they have an impact on decision-making. By working with other agencies and consulting carers, Carers Centres can have a strong influence on local policy, planning procedures and outcomes. They can also ensure that the local carers' voice can be linked in to the regional and national decision-making bodies
Carers Centres develop other services in response to identified needs. They are not static organisations. They should be proactive and dynamic, acting as an agent for change - identifying gaps in services and providing directly, or supporting other agencies to develop, services in response to clearly identified needs. Such services might include:
- Advocacy - at tribunals, assessments, case reviews, assistance to access funds and services, or whenever a carer needs a friend or supporter
- Practical help - befriending, breaks, relief carer support with shopping, transport
- Training and education - in skills often needed by carers, such as moving and handling, first aid, and care giving; personal development; stress reduction through reflexology and aromatherapy; and training and education for professionals on carer-related issues
- Fun - time out, breaks, the opportunity to enjoy a social life, taking into account carers' special needs and sense of isolation
The aim of our work is to help ensure that no carer has to reach crisis point before they get the support they need. In short, to make it easier for carers to cope.