What is effective in supporting carers

29th October 16

The findings of a £1 million study funded by the Cabinet Office in which Carers Trust Cambridgeshire was commended for its participation have just been published, endorsing its Caring Communities project.

Carers Trust Cambridgeshire was one of seven grantees commissioned to undertake projects using social action to support carers.  Each project was part of a wider evaluation of the impact and benefits of different approaches to supporting carers. Carers Trust Cambridgeshire was the only grantee focussed on identifying and “virtually integrating” carers to existing support through our “Caring Communities” approach, which evidenced a reduction in caring stress.

We would like to thank all the partner organisations and individuals who worked with us and continue to work with us on this project.  The integrated approach led to the success of the project, and we welcome more organisations getting involved.

Key findings about effective carer support

There is strong evidence (because a Randomised Control Trial was possible) that peer support services can slow, prevent or reverse a decline in carers’ social isolation and carer-related stress.

There is indicative evidence that respite services can reduce carer-related stress and reduce the likelihood of a carer breaking down.

There is indicative evidence that carer identification services can help carers gain access to a range of well-integrated support.

There is more limited evidence that practical support services can improve carers’ well-being and/or reduce the likelihood of them breaking down.

The findings of the study concluded that social action is “a viable approach to effectively supporting carers, primarily through early identification and intervention in order to prevent deteriorating stress and socialisation for carers with a medium level of need.”


For commissioners/policymakers: Invest in social action services as a preventative approach for carers with a medium level of need, provided that those services can convincingly show their commitment to quality, learning and impact.

But also invest in evaluation to continue to learn what works and how it can work even better, and continue to invest in more intensive services for carers with the highest level of need.

Estelle Mitchell, our Caring Communities Manger, said:  “The results of this study is a terrific endorsement of the enthusiasm and commitment our partners have shown. By supporting our caring communities approach, and making caring for carers everybody’s business, our partners and the hundreds of volunteers who supported us have shown that social action can make a difference to carers’ lives. The evidence shows that by working together we can help families access the help and support they need to care for someone, as early as possible, and that timely information and well-integrated  support can help to prevent some of the harmful impacts of caring and improve carers lives.”

To read the full report, click here.

If you would like more information about the project and/or how to become involved, please contact Estelle Mitchell on 01480 499090 or [email protected].