Getting the support you need to continue caring

How to get support as a carer

The Care Act 2014 requires local councils and health organisations to promote the wellbeing of all carers, ensure information, advice and support is available, and to prevent, reduce or delay carers reaching crisis point. The Care Act 2014 acknowledges that family and informal carers need to be supported to continue in their caring role and can access other activities outside their caring responsibilities. 

Many people find it helpful to use their wider friends and family network to help them in their caring role. There is a lot of other support available locally that you can access directly, without the need for a referral. We want to support you as much as possible to look after your own mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. The best way we can do this is to talk to you about what's important to you and what you want to achieve to continue in your caring role. 

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough information, advice and guidance for carers of all ages is provided by Caring Together (for adult or family carers), Making Space (for carers of adults with mental health needs) and Centre 33 (for young carers). (See our Further resources page for more information)

The carer’s assessment

If you need more support to help look after your own wellbeing, you may wish to have a carer’s assessment. This is a detailed conversation with a social care practitioner which considers what matters to you. It is a way of finding out what support you might need as a result of your caring role; it is not an assessment of your ability as a carer.  

The person you care for does not need to be in receipt of services for you to have an assessment of your own needs as a carer. You can request a review of your needs at any time should your circumstances change. Information on who is responsible for assessing your support needs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can be found at the bottom of this page. 

You may wish to involve the person you care for in the discussions about what would help, so that your support is as joined up as possible. However, this should be your choice and you can ask that your assessment is completed separately.

It may help to think about the things that matter to you ahead of your assessment by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • If I can achieve this, what difference would it make to my life?
  • What support do I have in place already?

If you would like a carer’s assessment and the cared-for person is accessing services at CPFT, please contact their clinician and ask to be referred for a carer’s assessment. Alternatively, if the cared-for person is not known to CPFT services you can contact the county councils directly. To self-refer to Peterborough the e-mail address is and the phone number is 01733 747 474 option 4. 

To self-refer to Cambridgeshire the e-mail address is and the phone number 0345 045 5202. 

All young carers (up to the age of 18) should be referred for a statutory young carers’ needs assessment to Centre 33 by e-mailing or phoning 0333 414 1809.

Contingency plans for carers (also called back-up plans or ‘what-if’ plans)

Many carers worry what would happen if for any reason they are unable to provide support to the person they care for. For this reason, it is sensible to prepare a contingency plan with you so that you can make arrangements for any support that needs to be provided in your absence and if/when an emergency arises. 

We will work with you to develop this contingency plan and we undertake to keep a confidential copy. If you are not offered the option of a contingency plan when you have your carer assessment, please ask us. It is your right to have a contingency plan even if you do not want a carer assessment. 

Your contingency plan may contain details such as:

  • A contact name and number of someone who is willing to help in an emergency, such as a relative or friend
  • Details of the support provided for the cared for person
  • Whether there are any access issues to the cared for person’s accommodation 

Contingency plans can be shared – with your consent – across multiple agencies. This could include sharing a plan with a GP or social care provider.

Who provides my contingency plan / what-if plan?

This is a free service funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to look after adults with care needs during an emergency involving their family carer. This is done by getting in touch with your nominated contacts for you, with back-up support available, if essential. 

If the person you look after lives in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough, CaringTogether can register a ‘what-if plan’. The ‘what-if’ phone line is then available for you to call 24 hours a day if you need to activate your plan. It can provide urgent support to the person you care for in the event of you being unable to care. 

For further information please go to:

Parent Carer Transitional Plans

The time when a young person is preparing for adulthood can be particularly difficult for parent carers. We recognise that this stage of their child’s life also brings about change for the parent themselves as they adjust from one system of support to another as well as changes around things such as education and housing. 

Having worked together with parent carers and partners, including Pinpoint Cambridgeshire and Family Voice Peterborough, to develop support for parents who are at this stage, we are now able to offer a parent carer transition plan to parent carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

This is a conversation about your own needs as a parent carer - how you are feeling, changes that lie ahead for you and what support is available to you in caring for an adult. This is an opportunity for you to reflect on your own needs and take time to think about you and your own future. We will also ensure you are linked in with the appropriate support services available for their child, as they approach adulthood.

If you would like further information on how a parent carer transition plan could help your family or to make a referral, please telephone our helpline on 01480 499090 or e-mail

Carer’s Card

It has always been valuable for people looking after a family member or friend to be identified as a carer. The Caring Together carer’s card is a good way to help you be identified as a carer, whether this is when you are at the shops, GP surgery, pharmacist or other places. (We would also recommend you make sure that the GP of the person you look after is aware you are their carer). 

If you don’t yet have a carer’s card, you can find out more by e-mailing or by calling 0345 241 0954.

As a patient

As a patient, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Patient Advice and Liaison service  Contact the Trust