At CoEL we aim to provide the support the carers need and to help carers get the outcomes they want. We will listen to what you want and try to provide the help you need. There are number of ways we try to do this.
We are continuing to deliver support to carers over the telephone during the coronavirus pandemic including assistance with welfare rights issues and benefit applications. Please call us on 0131 665 0135 if you need help. However, we have had to suspend all face-to-face contact until further notice due to social distancing guidelines.
We have a team of Carer Support Workers who work closely with carers to support them across a wide range of issues. This support could range from giving information and advice about health and social care services, to assistance with assessments and care planning as part of Self Directed Support. We also support carers with housing concerns or adaptations, future planning, finding ways to combine caring and employment, and with exploring how they can manage the person they care for’s health problems etc. We also support many carers with the sometimes difficult emotional impact of changing relationships with the person they care for.
We support people who are caring for people with physical health problems, who are elderly and frail or who have learning disabilities. We also have a dedicated carer support worker who supports people who care for someone with chronic mental health problems.
We support carers and the people they care for understand their financial options and to claim the Benefits they are entitled to. We can assist with completing forms, give advice on how to maximise income and explain what your options are if you are thinking that you might have to give up work in order to be able to care for a friend or family member. We can also provide advice and support with fuel bills to make sure keeping warm is as affordable as possible, support you with applications to trusts for essential items and help people join credit unions and other ways to make life more affordable. We do not provide debt counselling but we will make sure you get the help you need if there is a problem for you.
Getting a break from caring is very important for many carers. We provide advice and assistance to find a break that will work for both the carer and the person they care for. This could be just getting a bit of time for yourself in the day through to help with booking appropriate respite breaks for a week or two. We can help ensure that the Council provides funding for a break and sometimes also identify other sources of funds to make breaks affordable. Click here for details of our Breaks from Caring Fund. We also run occasional days out for carers.
Please note our peer support groups are not meeting in person during the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact us on 0131 665 0135 to find out about our online groups on WhatsApp and Zoom instead.
We run a number of monthly support groups across the county. These are a great opportunity to meet other people in the same situation and to share experiences. Groups are informal and welcoming – as one carer told us “the friendship, the atmosphere & the interaction between us all is great. The realisation other people have the same difficulties is important. It helps to share problems.”
Please contact our office for further details of our current groups:
- Dunbar – second Wednesday of each month 10.30 to 12.00
- North Berwick – second Tuesday of each month 10.30 to 12.00
- Musselburgh– last Wednesday of each month at 10.00 to 11.30
- Carer Group for Men – second Thursday of each month at 10.30 to 12.00
- Carers of people with mental health issues (Port Seton) – each month – call us for dates
Please note we have had to suspend all face-to-face contacts due to social distance guidelines. Please look at our Events page for details of our online events and workshops instead.
We run a number of workshops and training events to help carers feel more confident about aspects of caring and to get the information they need in their role. These can range from understanding challenging behaviours in dementia to coping with stress to understanding Power of Attorney or Guardianship. We also run series of workshops for people interested in learning about a range of different issues related to caring. This is particularly helpful for people who think that their caring role may become greater or who are new to the world of benefits and social services and it is a great opportunity to get to know a few other people in similar circumstances.
Counselling is a confidential space to talk with someone who is trained to listen and respond with empathy and understanding. Our counsellor can help you to explore and express the thoughts and feelings that you have around your caring role, with the hope that this will provide some relief and ideas around coping with your situation.
Please contact our office for information about how to be referred to our counsellor.
Our Carer Support Workers can help advocate on your behalf, support you to explore your options and rights in certain circumstances, to attend meetings and to have your thoughts and concerns heard. However, we are not a specialist independent advocacy service. For more information on independent advocacy see http://www.siaa.org.uk/
Please note our advice surgeries are suspended during the coronavirus pandemic due to social distancing guidelines.
Power of Attorney or Guardianship are the legal ways that carers can make decisions about the finances or wellbeing of the person they care for. We run regular advice sessions on Power of Attorney and can assist with making applications, please contact our office to book a place on our next session. Solicitors can also provide assistance but will generally charge to do so. For more information about making decisions for the person you care for please see http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotland/relationships_s/relationships_help_for_adults_in_the_community_s/managing_affairs_for_someone_else-2.htm
We often help people to make complaints or express concerns about other social work, the NHS or other services.
However, there may also be times when we get things wrong or not provide the support you wanted or needed. If you have any concerns or complaints about the services Carers of East Lothian provide please contact our Manager who will investigate and try to put things right. For more information about out complaints policy please contact the centre in the first instance.