Information For Carers

Information, advice and support services for family carers in Reading and West Berkshire are now provided by the Reading and West Berkshire Carers Partnership. The partnership consists of Reading Mencap, Age UK Berkshire, Age UK Reading and CommuniCare.

The service will help carers:

  • Get support to help them in their caring role
  • Find local services and sources of help
  • Look after their health and wellbeing
  • Connect with other carers
  • Understand their rights
  • Get a Carer’s Assessment (for Reading-based carers).

Who to contact and where to go for support:

If you are caring for a child or adult with a learning disability and/or autism in Reading, please contact Reading Mencap for information and advice. We can provide a Carers’ Assessment if you are caring for a child or an adult.
Call 0118 966 2518 or email
Reading Mencap is based at 21 Alexandra Road, Reading RG1 5PE. To make a referral to Reading Mencap, please download the Carers Partnership referral form.

If you are caring for an adult over the age of 50 in Reading, please contact Age UK Reading for information, advice and Carers’ Assessments.
Call 07716 418 941 or email
Age UK Reading is based at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading RG1 7JS.

If you are caring for an adult over the age of 50 who lives in West Berkshire, please contact Age UK Berkshire .
Call 0118 959 4242 or email
Age UK Berkshire is based at Unit 119, Broad Street Mall, Reading RG1 7QA.

CommuniCare is supporting all other carers in Reading and West Berkshire (if you are caring for someone over the age of 18 and under the age of 50 who doesn’t have a learning disability CommuniCare will also offer Carers’ Assessments).
Call 0118 926 3941 or email
CommuniCare is based at 233 Kings Road, Reading RG1 4LS.

Ask for a Carer’s Assessment

The Care Act gives all unpaid carers of an adult the legal right to an assessment of their needs, called a Carer’s Assessment. This gives you the opportunity to talk about your needs as a carer and what would help you with your caring responsibilities.

Carers are entitled to an assessment in their own right regardless of whether or not the person they care for has had one or wants one.

There is no charge for an assessment. Many councils use guidelines to determine if people are able to receive services, which means the needs identified in the assessment will be compared against the council’s eligibility criteria.

Carers who are not assessed as being able to receive services should be given information about local voluntary organisations and services that can be accessed independently.

About the Assessment

A Carer’s Assessment is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers. It gives you the opportunity to reflect upon how caring affects your life and how your needs may be met by social services or other support agencies.

It will include:

  • Tasks undertaken and time involved
  • Difficulties encountered in caring
  • How you feel about your caring role
  • How you are coping with the level of care you are providing
  • What impact caring is having on your health and well-being, employment, study and leisure interests
  • What help and support would improve the situation
  • What would you do in an emergency

How to get the most out of an assessment

You should think of an assessment as your chance to tell social services about the sorts of things that would make caring easier for you.

It may be helpful to think about the sorts of tasks undertaken for the person you care for, such as:

  • Help with dressing, washing, shopping, banking, medication
  • How it’s affecting your relationships with other people
  • If the person being cared for is getting enough help
  • If you are getting enough or any time to yourself to take a break or enjoy a hobby or leisure activity
  • If caring is having an impact on your own health.

What sort of help could I get?

The sort of help you may get include:

  • Practical support to help look after the person you care for
  • Respite care, breaks and a personal budget to help relieve the stress of caring
  • Adaptations, alarms and equipment
  • Advice and support on managing stress and looking after your health
  • Emergency back-up planning.

Carer’s Personal Budget

When Reading Borough Council look at your Carer’s Assessment, they may offer you:

  • advice and support to help you manage caring and look after your own health
  • information about local organisations and groups supporting carers
  • a Carer’s Personal Budget

If you meet the eligiblity criteria set out in the Care Act and if you have identified things you would like to buy to help you in your caring role, Reading Borough Council may offer you a Carer’s Personal Budget.

The sorts of things that carers have used a Personal Budget for in the past include:

  • kitchen equipment
  • IT equipment
  • massage sessions.

If you are caring for an adult with a learning disability and/or autism, please contact Reading Mencap for a Carer’s Assessment. Call us on 0118 926 3600 or email

Carer’s Allowance 

Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers.

It is a benefit paid to help people who look after someone who is disabled. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. It is paid at a basic rate of £81.90 a week (from April 2024). That is £4,258 a year.

You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you are 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week or more for someone who is ill or disabled.  You can get Carer’s Allowance if you are caring for someone who is in receipt of DLA or PIPs at the middle or highest rate for personal care. Your earnings must be £151 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses.

Carer’s Allowance – GOV.UK (

Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record. Your State Pension is based on your National Insurance record.

Your income, savings or investments won’t affect eligibility for Carer’s Credit.

Carer’s Credit it a way of protecting your State Pension rights if you are looking after someone but are not paying National Insurance contributions through paid work and are unable to claim Carer’s Allowance.

You could get Carer’s Credit if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week.

The person you’re looking after must get one of the following:

  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component, at the standard or enhanced rate
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

If the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of these benefits, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit. When you apply, fill in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application form and get a health or social care professional to sign it.

You don’t need to apply for Carer’s Credit if you:

  • get Carer’s Allowance – you’ll automatically get credits
  • get Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12 – you’ll automatically get credits
  • are a foster carer – you can apply for National Insurance credits instead.

To apply, you can call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321 or textphone 0345 604 5312.

To find out more, please visit

Carer’s emergency plan

Do you ever worry what might happen to the person you care for if the unexpected happened?

A carer’s emergency plan sets out who should be contacted and what needs to be done to make sure the person you care for is safe and supported in your absence. It provides peace of mind that support is available if you are delayed, taken ill, stuck in traffic or involved in an accident.

Call us on 0118 966 2518 or email if you would like help to draw up an emergency plan.

In case of emergency (ICE) numbers

Don’t forgot to put ICE numbers ‘In Case of Emergency’ on your mobile phone. In the unlikely event of your being involved in an emergency it’s helpful if you save the telephone number of people you would like contacted in this easily recognisable format. This will allow the emergency services or anyone else to use your phone to call people who need to be informed. You can save the numbers under ICE1, ICE2 and so on.

Other useful numbers:

  • Out-of-hours emergency social work duty team: 01344 786543
  • GP out-of-hours service: 111

Tell Us Once – what to do after someone dies

When someone has died, there are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you probably least feel like doing them.

Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go.

It will notify organisations including:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • DWP
  • HM Passport Office
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Smart way to shop for carers 

Did you know there are offers, benefits and discounts available exclusively for carers and people with care needs. Once you are a member you can benefit from a wide range of offers, including:

  • Cash back on shopping from major retailers – like Boots, Argos, Sainsbury, M&S, B&Q and Apple
  • Best rates from energy providers
  • Reductions on insurance renewals
  • Discounts on holidays and travel arrangements
  • Reduced price lifestyle activities – Legoland, Costa Coffee, Fitness First
  • Free legal advice services

Register free at

CarerSmart is provided by Carers Trust.

Discounts for Carers

Members of Discounts for Carers can save up to £2,262 a year. Unpaid family carers are eligible to sing up for a range of discounts, money-saving deals and vouchers including travel and holiday deals, money off top fashion brands, savings on homeware and electricals, through to deals on mobile phones, utilities and gym membership.

Sign up for free at