Help for Carers

COVID-19 testing now available for unpaid carers   
Thursday 7th May 2020

The government has now included unpaid carers, such as parents with disabled children, in the list of essential workers that can get a COVID-19 test if they show symptoms. 

Unpaid carers are listed under NHS and social care staff, at the end of the first bullet point on this webpage:

This will be welcome news to many unpaid carers who have expressed real concerns to us.  It would make a huge difference to many families, especially when some lockdown measures start to lift.

Please note that these lists apply to England only.

The self-referral test booking routes are available for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland here

Somerset Carers Service:                                                                                        
Carers Agents provide good quality local information, emotional support and practical advice to carers in their caring role and can point them in the right direction to get help or information. They work closely with the other specialist carer support networks. This service is to support carers; it does not replace assessed care and support provided by the local authority.          
Advice Line: 0800 31 68 600
Jackie Hayes is the Carers Agent for this area.
Her contact details are: Tel: 0800 31 68 600  Mobile: 07494 883570 
You can find out more about Carers Agents here:                              

We provide information and guidance to unpaid carers. This covers a range of subjects including:

  • Benefits and financial support
  • Your rights as a carer in the workplace
  • Carers’ assessments and how to get support in your caring role
  • Services available to carers and the people you care for
  • How to complain effectively and challenge decisions

      For more information:

Helpline module graphic 2

You can talk to us no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring. 

Call 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm. 
Or you can email                                                                                          

If you need urgent help there are other organisations who can help you get the support you need out of hours

  • Call the NHS 111 service if you are feeling unwell and need a telephone health assessment – just dial 111
  • Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – you can call free anytime, from any phone on 116 123 or email

Carers UK also have Coronavirus Guidance for carers:

Jointly is an app that makes caring for someone a little easier, less stressful and a lot more organised by making communication and coordination between those who share the care as easy as a text message.

It can be accessed by laptop, smart phone or desktop computer via this link:

NHS Carers Direct Helpline 0300 123 1053 (Mon – Fri 9am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 4pm)

You can call the helpline if you need help with your caring role and want to talk to someone about what options are available to you.

If you are busy at certain times of day, you can send the Carers Direct helpline a message and ask for an adviser to call you back for free at a time that is convenient to you.These services are available for people living in or caring for someone in England. The helpline is closed on bank holidays.

Mendip Health Connections is a district wide project. Health Connectors work with patients with long term conditions.                                                                                                        

Nicky Parkhouse is the Health Connector associated with Wells City Practice and Wells Health Centre. She can refer people to GP’s and other services. Her contact details are:Mobile: 07538546125 (Monday – Thursday 9am – 5pm) Email:

Somerset Partnership Carers’ Services Team

This service supports unpaid carers and family members to ensure that they feel valued and supported, empowering them to begin to take control of their lives. We provide a comprehensive range of services for carers including Carers Assessments, Carers Support Groups, Carers Info Packs, Carers Participation Group, Information and Advice about Carers Breaks and Carers emergency cards. Carers can be referred or self-refer for a Carers Assessment providing the person that they support is registered as a patient with a Somerset GP. 

Jo Sylvester is the Older Persons Carers Assessment Worker for this area:  

Phone: 01749 836736 Mobile: 07909 877657 Email: 

Sue Chappell is the Adult Carers Assessment Worker for Mendip: 

Phone: 01749 836597  Email:

A carers assessment is ‘an assessment of your needs as a carer, not your ability to care’.

It allows you to talk about your needs and the things you think could make caring easier for you.  

They will ask you about:

  • The help needed by the person you care for
  • The help you are providing now
  • Any difficulties that you may have
  • What you think would make life easier for you 

After your carers assessment, you will be given advice and information. Carers of people with mental health problems who receive services from Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust can request a specialist carers’ assessment from them. You can find details at or phone 01749 836606 or 01749 836633

Help for carers in an emergency

If you care for a family member or friend who has a disability, mental health problem or is an older person, Help in Crisis is available if you need help at short notice.

Help in Crisis is a free service that was set up to meet an identified need for one-off emergency support for carers ‘in crisis’. The service is free to carers and can be provided for sessions of up to four or up to eight hours and can usually be provided within one hour of the request being made. This service may be arranged outside the normal assessment process.

You can access this service if you can no longer carry out your caring role because you are:

  • confined to bed at home due to illness or accident
  • admitted to hospital in an emergency
  • in a state of exhaustion and need immediate rest and sleep
  • in an emotional or physical state of distress and immediate relief is vital to your mental and physical wellbeing
  • needed in a family crisis

The service is only available for these situations and is provided by Care at Home providers. It is available between 8.30am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, call 0300 123 2224. If you find that you need regular support you should contact us for an assessment.

For help outside these hours, the phone number for Children’s, Adults and Mental Health is: 0300 123 23 27

Somerset Parent Carer Forum

Somerset Parent Carer Forum is passionate about ensuring all our children have the best chance in life and receive the correct support and services in order to achieve their full potential.

We work towards improving the lives of families, children and young people with disabilities to make their voices are heard at all levels within health, education and social care services, call 01458 259384.

Contactfor families with disabled children 

Our helpline is for parents and carers in any part of the UK with a disabled child aged from birth to 25.

Your child can have any kind of disability or additional need, and you do not need to have a diagnosis.

Freephone    0808 808 3555, 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday, free from UK landlines and UK mobiles.

Press 1, to speak to an education adviser, press 2 for all other helpline enquires.

Email: (Response within 10 working days)


Age UK - love later life 

Age UK Advice Line: 0800 678 1602

Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year.

We offer free, independent advice 365 days a year

Our team are trained to identify the information that will best answer your questions. If we can’t help, we will direct you to the best place to go for further support and advice.