A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without their support. Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age.

The people they care for may:

  • Be frail
  • Be ill
  • Be disabled
  • Have a mental health problem
  • Have a learning disability
  • Have issues with substance misuse

Many carers do not consider themselves to be a carer. They are just getting on with looking after their mother, son, or best friend, and doing what anyone else would in the same situation.

We recognise that carers are extremely important within families and communities and often help those they care for to live independently for longer.

Becoming a carer can be bewildering, confusing and frightening so at the end of this page there are links to local and national organisations that can offer advice and support to carers. Our Carer Aware e-learning course may also be of interest to you.

If you know a young carer or you are one yourself, our young carers web page gives advice and information as well as links to other specialist sites.

We have a full list of services available for carers in the Southampton area in the in our directory.

Arrange a break from caring

If you need a break from your caring role our information on caring for adults provides you with information on who to talk to and some potential providers of respite care.

The local authority will consider what help is needed and decide which community care services it will provide to help the person you care for. There may be a charge for the community care services. This information is available from your local authority's social services department, contact details below. 

You can also search the information directory for care agencies that can support respite.

I'm a young carer SHOW

I'm a parent carer SHOW

I'm a carer of an adult SHOW