Research on Carers within Seldom Heard Communities: Final Report


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The needs of informal carers have become one of the major welfare
concerns in recent years. In particular, following the introduction of the
Care Act (2014), all informal carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment,
regardless of income and whether or not they are receiving local council services. The assessment aims to address
(a) whether the carer is able, and is likely to continue to be able, to
provide care for the adult needing care, (b) whether the carer is willing,
and is likely to continue to be willing, to do so, (c) the impact of the
carer’s needs for support … (d) the outcomes that the carer wishes to
achieve in day-to-day life, and (e) whether, and if so to what extent,
the provision of support could contribute to the achievement of those
outcomes. (Care Act, 2014, p. 10)
However, one significant obstacle to achieving the objectives of the Care Act is the issue of equality of access to resources for carers who come from seldom-heard communities. These communities can be ‘BME groups, new migrants, asylum seekers, gypsies and traveller communities, people who live in rural/isolated areas, young carers or carers who look after and support people who have mental health or substance misuse issues’, as well as the gay, lesbian and transgender community (Nottingham County Council [NCC], 2016a, p. 2). The Carers Trust (2016), for example, has drawn attention to, and summarised, the unmet needs of four seldom-heard carer groups, in particular.
• Youth. There are about three million children who take care of family
members with special needs. The main problem that they face is balancing their caring role with their own study and other social needs.
• Mental Health. It is estimated that one in four carers are mental health carers. The stigmatisation of mental illness in society means
that these carers find it difficult to obtain consistent support for their
• Learning Disability. Around 2 per cent of the population has a
learning disability and is cared for mainly by family members ‘across
all age ranges’.
• Substance Misuse. There are around 380,000 ‘problem drug users’
in the UK. However, those who care for them are not ‘currently receiving their legal rights to recognition, assessment and services’.
In short, it appears that some seldom-heard carer groups are encountering various difficulties in accessing support. Therefore, it is imperative that we investigate the circumstances of different seldom-heard carers, and identify their needs, so that appropriate services can be provided for them. 
According to the 2011 census, there were 90,698 residents identified themselves as a ‘carer’ in Nottinghamshire, and 5,000 of them are being supported by Nottinghamshire County Council. Following its appointment of a new Commissioning Officer to encourage seldom-heard carers to ‘access information and support from both the Council and local NHS’ (NCC, 2016b), Nottinghamshire County Council commissioned the Department of Social Work and Health at Nottingham Trent University to undertake some research on seldom-heard carers so that it might ‘learn more about carers who typically do not present for Carers’ Assessments and do not access NCC services or commissioned services’ (NCC, 2016a). The main objectives of the research were a. to investigate the obstacles to carers gaining access to services provided by Nottinghamshire County Council, the NHS, and other, partner organisations; b. to determine what types of services and resources carers require, if they are to fulfil their role and also maintain their own well-being. 
The findings of this study will help to identify gaps in services, supporting commissioning decisions to develop new or different services to meet the needs of ‘seldom-heard’ carer groups in Nottinghamshire. 
This report presents the main findings of the research on seldom-heard carers in Nottinghamshire and comprises five sections. Section two, below, introduces the research design and gives an overview of how the fieldwork was conducted. Section three describes the main characteristics of the respondents. Section four reports the results of the analysis of the data gathered from carers and stakeholders; 1 while the final section lists some recommendations for addressing the needs of seldom-heard carers.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSchool of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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