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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a carer?

A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability.

This may include helping with personal care, medication, cooking, shopping, housework and giving emotional support.

Carers can be:

  • male or female
  • any age (including children looking after an ill or disabled parent, brother or sister)
  • from any ethnic, religious or racial background and of any sexual orientation
  • in part-time or full-time employment

Many people do not recognise themselves as carers.  They are parents, grandparents, children, partners, friends or neighbours doing what needs to be done to maintain the quality of life for those they are looking after.  They may not realise that support is available to help them in their caring role.

How do carers contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre?

Carers can contact the Carers’ Centre directly themselves.

Workers from other organisations can also pass a carer’s contact details to the Carers’ Centre, if they have the carer’s permission. The Carers’ Centre will then make contact with the carer.

Please contact Sunderland Carers' Centre on (0191) 549 3768 or email

Does Sunderland Carers’ Centre provide care and practical help to the cared-for person?

No.  Sunderland Carers’ Centre provides information, advice and support to carers.

I am not registered as a carer. How do I register?

There is not a national register for carers but you may wish to let some agencies know that you are a carer, for example:

You may wish to tell your GP that you are a carer.

Sunderland Carers’ Centre provides information, advice and support to carers. You can join the Centre’s mailing list to receive the free newsletter. Please contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 549 3768 or email

Sunderland Carers' Centre are carrying out Carers Assessments on behalf of Sunderland City Council Adult Services (for carers over 18 caring for another adult). A carer’s assessment will look at the different ways that caring affects your life. It will help world out how you can carry on doing things that are important to you and your family. Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing will be at the heart of the assessment. The assessment may result in you, the carer, having eligible need for support yourself and you will also be offered advice and guidance to help you in your caring role. You can have a Carers Assessment even if the person or people you care for do not receive services themselves or if they refuse services.

Do I have to receive Carers Allowance to be classed as a carer?

No.  Everyone’s caring situation is different. Carers can have different types of caring responsibilities and can care for different lengths of time.

Some carers, but not all, receive or are entitled to claim Carers Allowance.

Some carers may be in part-time or full-time employment or undertake voluntary work.

Some carers/young carers may be at school, college or university.

No matter what your caring situation is, Sunderland Carers’ Centre can offer you help and support.

Does Sunderland Carers’ Centre provide benefits advice to carers?

No.  Staff at Sunderland Carers’ Centre are not trained to advise carers about welfare benefits, but they can signpost carers to agencies that can provide this advice.

Click here to find out where to go for advice

We always recommend that carers seek specialist advice before claiming welfare benefits.

I am on the Newsletter Mailing List.  Does this mean I am a member of Sunderland Carers' Centre?

No, these are two different things.

Any carer can contact Sunderland Carers' Centre and ask to join the newsletter mailing list.  We will then send them the free newsletter every three months.  The newsletter will keep carers up-to-date with services for carers.  Carers are also able to attend any of the events and activities publicised in the newsletter.

To join the Newsletter Mailing List please contact Sunderland Carers' Centre on (0191) 549 3768.

Membership is open to individuals or organisations who:

* apply to the Charity in the form required by the Directors

* are approved by the Directors

* are 18 years or older

* shall normally be carers in the City of Sunderland

* have paid the subscription fee in force at the time (currently no fee)

Members are entitled to:

* stand for election as Directors of the company

* vote at general and extra-ordinary general meetings

* call, with the requisite number of members specified in the Articles of Association, extraordinary general meetings

* vote on alterations to the Memorandum and Articles of Association

Click here to download a membership application form.

Carers are able to join the Newsletter Mailing List and also to become a Member.