Support For Carers

Service user and carerThe contribution carers make to health and social care in Northern Ireland should not be underestimated.

Their role is invaluable and it is thanks to the hard work and dedication of carers that tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland are able to retain their independence and continue to live in their community.

You may not be aware of this but the Health and Social Care Board, Trusts, Local Commissioning Groups and the Public Health Agency work very closely with carers in the design and delivery of health and social care services.

And it is thanks to this engagement – and through more formal consultations processes like Transforming Your Care – that we are able to set out what we want to achieve, things like:

  • Giving people greater control over assessed care and support needs;
  • Giving carers greater access to short breaks;
  • Giving people access to individualised budgets and Self Directed Support; and
  • Enabling people to stay at home as long as possible or be cared for at home.

At a practical level, we know that Trusts need to get better at identifying carers, assessing their needs and putting resources in place to support them, particularly in the context of “care closer to home”.

We know that carers want Trusts to provide more flexible, age appropriate respite (or short breaks) for them – and we have been increasing our investment in this area.

We also know that carers also want to be able to make real choices based on relevant, timely and accessible information from Trusts.

We hope that by providing you with contact details below in each Trust, you can speak to a Carer’s Coordinator in your area and get the support and information you need.

Likewise, if you are interested in learning more about how the Board and Trusts are working on delivering Self Directed Support – a way in which carers can be in control of their own budgets, to personalise their support packages in a way which makes a real difference to their own lives – please click on the link below.

Am I a carer?

word cloud for carersA carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a family member or a friend who may not be able to manage without this help because of frailty, illness or disability.

Carers can be adults caring for other adults, parents caring for ill or disabled children or young people who care for another family member.

What support can I get?

If you are caring for someone, please contact your Trust and ask them for information on Carer’s Needs Assessments.

What is a Carer’s Needs Assessment?

This is an opportunity for carers to meet with someone from the Trust and tell them about the care they provide and how it affects their day to day life.

The Trust worker (usually a Social Worker or Care Manager) and carers will discuss current support arrangements and what other help could be required to help sustain the caring relationship.

It is an assessment for the carer not the person cared for.

An assessment can be useful as it gives carers the chance to talk openly and confidentially about:

  • The support they provide;
  • How caring affects their own physical and emotional health;
  • What they find difficult and challenging;
  • Concerns they have for the future; and
  • What support they may need to continue caring.

This support could be from the Trust or other organisations and may include:

  • Information on issues relevant to you as a carer such as Self Directed Support;
  • How to get in contact with carer groups;
  • Support with practical tasks;
  • Getting respite or a short break from caring
  • Training to help you in your caring role;
  • Emotional support to help you manage your health and wellbeing;
  • Complementary therapies;
  • Support to claim benefits.


Please click on the video below to learn more about how the Western HSC Trust is providing support for carers.


Carers’ Coordinators

If you would like further information on any of the above issues, simply contact your Carers Coordinator or a Trust worker (e.g. a Social Worker or Care Manager) involved with the person you care for.

At the time of writing (September 2014), Carer’s Coordinators are:

Belfast Trust
Lynne Calvert
Grove Wellbeing Centre
120 York Road, Belfast
BT15 3HF
Telephone: 02890 636819


Margaret McDonald
Knockbracken Healthcare Park
Glen Villa
Saintfield Road
Belfast BT8 8BH
Telephone: 02890 564 937

Northern Trust
Anne Cummings
Northern Health and Social Care Trust
Route Complex
8e Coleraine Road
BT53 6BP
Telephone: 02827 661392

Southern Trust
Patricia McCrink
Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Promoting Well Being Team
John Mitchel Place
BT34 2BU
Telephone: 02830 834 252

Western Trust
Cathy Magowan
Western Health and Social Care Trust
2 Coleshill Road
Telephone: 02866 344 163

South Eastern Trust
Joan Scott
Ballynahinch Community Services
45-47 Main Street
BT24 8DN
Telephone: 02897 565456

Your Trust will also have a Carers Support Group and you may also be able to subscribe to regular email newsletters which will tell you about short breaks, events and services which are available in your local area.

Useful Links

Carers’ Information (Belfast Trust)
Carers’ Information (Northern Trust)
Carers’ Information (Southern Trust)
Carers’ Information (Western Trust)
Carers’ Information (South Eastern Trust)
Carers Strategy (Belfast Trust)
Carers Rights (Department of Health A-Z Guide)
Carers Online Benefits Check
Carers Events and Conferences (Carers NI)
Department of Health and Social Services
Family Support NI
Mind The Gap (information leaflet: support for Carers over 60)
Carers’ Voice Network

Related Pages

Older People’s Services
Self Directed Support
Day Opportunities


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