My name is Rachel, I am in my early 50’s and a Carer for two members of my family. An adult stepson who has Mild Learning Disability (MLD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I was in a partnership business with my husband successfully running for more than ten years. This suited my Caring role. Covid and the changes in the economy hit us hard leading me to consider part-time work. I was attracted to working with my employer because it was clear from the outset that they were a Carer Friendly Employer. I had never seen this before and was instantly curious. The project was perfect for my skill set and decades of experience. I could work from home, work flexibly with my hours, all of which made it attractive. The interview process was clearly set up to get to know me and understand what I could bring to the project. This friendlier approach enabled me to be open about my Caring role from the start.   

Rachel, with her husband Martin

Three months into my job my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive Cancer. Our world and family life changed dramatically overnight. Due to the normalising and valuing the caring role within the organisation, I felt able to reach out for a 1-1 with my manager and had incredible support from her and the wider team. I was trusted to reflect on my own needs and manage my workflow accordingly, with the team stepping in if needed. There was a clear message that my family life must come first and trusted my work ethic, knowing I would not want the projects to suffer due to my circumstances. I able to step back from in person work because of shielding and was covered by team members. I was able to manage my workload and calendar around medical appointments, and moments of feeling vulnerable or fatigued. New solutions to meeting our targets were discussed and actioned together.  

As a household we lost our income over night, I was now the main income provider. My manager checked that we were accessing wider support and ensured I knew the support available to me within our organisation, including reminding me of the healthcare package provided. Our Carers Policy and menopause Policy was so helpful, it is clarity provided reassurance that my wellbeing was at the heart of the company. Due to all of this, I was able to increase my hours. In addition, because of their SMART four-day week, was promoted to a full-time senior manager. This was astonishing to me. That in a crisis, I was not only able to maintain my work but gained a promotion. This is a testament to these various aspects coming together to support me emotionally, and financially. I am now passionate about how Carers can be supported in the workplace so employers can not only maintain but attract valuable staff. For me, working is a much-needed normality and respite.   

Rachel with her family.

April brings the long awaited Carers Leave Act  into effect on the 6th April 2024. 

This is the result of a long campaign to ensure that those with Caring responsibilities in addition to their paid working role, have some protection in law.  Whether you are currently a working Carer or a Carer considering returning to work, this is something to know more about. 

Keep an eye out for our online Discovery sessions, telling you all about it in June! We will provide you a FREE event link in May’s Newsletter.

The Carer’s Leave Act has opened up many more possibilities for carers who are employed.

The law doesn’t state what type of care this includes but it is intended to cover a range of caring situations. These could include things like taking someone to a medical appointment, supporting someone with personal care, arranging visits with health professionals or organising care for the future.

It is interesting to note that an employer can’t require an employee to supply evidence that they are caring so it is up to you to identify that you are caring and are requesting the leave. If you haven’t already notified your employer of your Caring role, now might be a good time. Many Carers use their Carer Friendly ID card, for this purpose, including a photocopy in their HR file so all future managers know their circumstance sand can offer support.  

You are required to give a minimum of three days notice

This leave is intended for planned and foreseen caring commitments. If the situation is urgent, employees have the legal right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with an emergency involving someone who relies on them for help

This leave requirement is unpaid, therefore your employer does not have to pay you for this time. But many will, it is considered best practice. 

Have you got a good experience of working for a Carer Friendly Employer?

If you have an employer who is very understanding about the caring responsibilities that you have and offers any kind of flexibility or has any Carer policies in place, please tell them about Forward Carers Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark that they can apply for.

If you feel that your employer would benefit from finding out how they can support staff who juggle a caring role, you could tell your HR department or line manger about Carer Friendly Workplace Training that is available.

Do you feel your employer needs support around considering how to support Carers in their workforce?

We can approach them to see if they would like our support! 

Parent Carers have a different legal protection that has been in place for some time, they can take up to 18 weeks’ leave to look after their child. This is separate to Carer’s Leave. Further information about the Carer’s Leave Act is available on the Government website.

Age Concern Birmingham and Headway Birmingham and Solihull have both been recognised for their commitment to supporting Carers in their workplace by receiving the Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark from Forward Carers.

The award acknowledges the efforts of these organisations in creating a supportive and inclusive work environment for employees who are also Carers. The Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark is awarded to organisations that evidence how they are working towards a set of five Carer Friendly standards that actively support Carers in the workplace.

Anna Smith, Executive Manager for Forward Carers said, “I’m delighted that Age Concern Birmingham and Headway continued their journey with us after completing the Carer Friendly Workplace Champion training. The Commitment Mark is part of our Carer Friendly Communities scheme, the only trademarked Carer Friendly recognition programme.

Age Concern Birmingham and Headway Birmingham & Solihull help and empower Carers in the local community, and now they are supporting Carers in their workplace too. Congratulations to both organisations on this wonderful achievement.”

“Age Concern Birmingham recognises and understands the challenges of balancing work and care and strives to support staff with their caring responsibilities. We are delighted to have this recognised through our Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark Certificate.”

Working Carer, Tricia Perryman added: 

“I am a carer and balancing work and caring for a loved one can be challenging. Age Concern Birmingham recognises these challenges and offers flexible working hours, so I am able to take on my caring responsibilities.”

One in seven people in the workplace in the UK are juggling work and care1 and on average, 600 people a day leave work to look after a friend or family member who cannot manage due to frailty, a serious illness, disability or addiction2. With these facts, together with the Carers Leave Act coming into force on 6 April 2024, recognising Carers in your workplace has never been greater.

Sue Tyler – CEO Headway Birmingham & Solihull explains why the Commitment Mark is important:

“Gaining our Carer Friendly Commitment Mark, means a lot to Headway.  As a specialist brain injury service, we focus on providing support to our families and carers, however it is easy to overlook all the people who work in an organisation who may also be working carers. 

This commitment has helped us focus on our staff who are juggling work and caring and have a clear plan and procedure of how to ensure we support them.  Also making their colleagues aware is really important in ensuring that working carers get the understanding they need. I would recommend that every organisation try to achieve this commitment mark.” 

Are you interested in sharing the support you provide the working Carers in your workplace?
Why not see if you gain our Commitment Mark? Programme Manager Rachel Close would love to hear from you to see how we can support you. For an introductory chat contact Rachel via

Find out more information about the Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark and Carer Friendly Workplace Training to ensure you support employees who balance work with caring responsibilities.

Carer’s Leave Act Training – Online Event on 11 April

Ensure that your organisation or business is prepared for the implementation of the Carer’s Leave Act on 6 April. Join Forward Carers and Clover HR for a half day training opportunity. You will discover what the new Act will mean for you as an employer and your employees that have caring responsibilities.

Take advantage of an Early Bird rate for our first session on 11th April 2024 of £75+vat with only a limited number of spaces, make sure you don’t miss out! All future sessions are priced at £95+vat. Book your place on Eventbrite today.

Please note we offer 50% discount for non-profits, voluntary sector and micro-businesses. You can access this discount by emailing directly to book.

1 One in seven people in the workplace in the UK are juggling work and care (Carers UK, Juggling Work and Care, 2019).

2 On average, 600 people a day leave work to care – with over 500,000 people leaving work to provide unpaid care pre-pandemic (Carers UK, Juggling Work and Care).

Are you interested in a flexible home-based role with travel across the South West of England, building successful B2B relationships to support Unpaid Carers living in Wiltshire, Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole? Read on to find out more about Forward Carers and our new Project Assistant position.

Join Forward Carers and be part of our expanding team that genuinely understands the challenges and rewards of caring for others. Our organisation is a Carer Friendly Employer, with flexible working practices and health benefits that ensure you have time to manage personal responsibilities and relax. 

We offer competitive salaries, recognising the value of your skills and dedication. In our supportive culture, every team member’s voice matters, and we encourage collaborative efforts to improve our services and impact.

Your role at Forward Carers isn’t just a job; it’s an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Unpaid Carers. We understand the importance of this mission and provide a work environment that reflects our commitment to both our employees and the community we serve.

By joining us, you become part of a community that values compassion, empathy, and meaningful work. To find out more about this new vacancy, take a look at the job description.

How to Apply

To apply for the role of Carer Friendly Project Assistant at Forward Carers, please submit your CV, a one-page covering letter, your preferred hours (full time or part time) and your response to the two pre-interview questions.

Your covering letter should show your experience or your potential to learn skills, and passion for the role. Include specific examples that show what will make you successful in B2B relationships, networking, and stakeholder engagement.

Applications should be sent to by Friday 29th March and interviews will be held on Friday 5th April 2024. Please notify us at the point of application if you will require an alternative date.  

If you are invited to interview, we will ask you about any adaptations or accessibility needs that will support you to bring your best self to the interview.

Apply now and take the first step towards a career that is not only rewarding but also deeply fulfilling and impactful.

Did you know we are supporting GP Surgeries to join our Carer Friendly Community?

We are very fortunate to have NHS Carers Engagement Facilitators that are dedicated to supporting GP surgeries to provide exceptional care and support to unpaid carers within their practice and local community.  To support their work, we formed a partnership with the facilitators to award our Carer Friendly Recognition to those practices that meet their bench marker of good practice. This good practice is in part; based on a piece of work between the NHS and Carers UK, who created a NHS bench mark guidance around identifying and supporting the Carers.

Five PCN and Practice groups have been awarded so far! 

Congratulations to all the staff at Jurassic PCN 🎉Jurassic Coast PCN

 Gillingham Medical Practice🎉Gillingham Medical Practice (

Poole north PCN 🎉Poole North PCN | Poole | Facebook

The Adams Practice🎉 The Adam Practice – Medical Doctors in Dorset

Mid Dorset PCN 🎉 Mid Dorset Primary Care Network (

Between them that is 26 GP sites so far around Dorset and BCP. 

Here is why is their own words: 

Poole North PCN comprises four Practices in the local area and has a designated Carers Lead assigned to each Practice. We work as part of a friendly proactive team of Care Coordinators, meeting regularly to share ideas and plan events to support carers.

This summer we arranged a ‘Cake for Carers’ afternoon, which we hosted in Broadstone during Carers Week, and represented our PCN at a local Dementia Awareness event. These were well attended and the feedback we received was positive, which will help us to plan future events.

We are constantly looking at ways to develop our links with more carers in the local area, by listening to what support carers would like from their GP Practice, raising awareness of our social media pages, promoting events on Practice carers noticeboards and monitor displays in reception areas, and reaching out to local charities and schools to the wider carer’s community.

At Gillingham Medical Practice, we work hard to support our carers and give recognition to the invaluable support they provide. Claire Lockett is our carers lead, as well as a Social Prescriber within the practice. Claire has a wealth of knowledge about support and services in the local area. Claire is supported by Emily Nott, our Lead Care Coordinator. Emily registers carers and ensures coding is correct. We keep in regular contact with our carers through text message with information about upcoming events, whether these are organised by the practice or externally. 

We also have Karen Johnson, our Families and Young Person Social Prescriber, who we link in with when thinking about how we can offer support to our young carers. In collaboration with Dorset Council, we run a fortnightly carers group at the library where carers can come together and talk to others who are dealing with similar situations. We have previously run a Carers Education Course too which focused on a different topic each session. 

We have previously held a free cream tea afternoon to celebrate carers week. This event was enjoyable for all, and 40 carers attended. We also run a Wellbeing One Stop clinic every 3 weeks at the library. This clinic is mainly aimed at our frail population, but we do make sure to include carers and the clinic gives the patient a ‘full MOT’ and they see multiple healthcare professionals in one visit. Carer Support Dorset have previously attended a clinic which proved to be beneficial. We hope this will give them some extra support. We have also recently started running clinics for annual carers health checks. These currently occur once a month. Patients will see an HCA, and Claire who will conduct a full carer assessment. We are always thinking of ideas of how we can better our support for carers.

Do you know if your GP surgery is Carer Friendly? Look our for our sticker in your surgeries and check out the links from the list above!

Online Carers advice, guidance and information self-help platform Bridgit Care has helped more than 3,000 carers across Dorset since it was launched in May.

The accessible one-stop-shop platform, which connects Carers to key services to support and inform them about local community events, has proved popular for people looking for information about Carers’ allowances, benefits, assessments, discounts, training opportunities, stress and anxiety.

People are also able to build their own self-help plan and the system is available any time of day without registering first.

Unpaid Carer Fiona King took part in the original training offer by Bridgit Care during Carers Week in the summer. She has found the platform easy to understand and use and has now filled in a Carer’s Assessment.

“It is very intuitive, and it comes up with some excellent solution suggestions. You can personalise it and make lists according to your needs. I’ve been using it to get advice on how to find time for myself and have found it really useful. It’s great to be able to log on at anytime 24/7 rather than having to wait to speak to someone.”

Councillor Jane Somper, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Housing and Health, said the service was freeing up Carers’ time by making it easier for them to access support and advice, at the time they want, offering more choice and flexibility.

Darren Crombie, founder of Bridgit Care, said those using the online platform were receiving self-help through its signposting, advice and events information and could also receive reassurance support from Carer Support Dorset over the phone or in person at events.

At Bridgit Care our mission is to support the unpaid family carer community across Dorset. Bridgit Care is more than a digital platform; it’s a vital support network for Dorset’s Carers. We’re committed to empowering Carers with essential tools and information, simplifying their roles with accessible resources.

“The positive response to Bridgit from our collaboration with Dorset Council underscores the significant need for such support. We’re proud to be pioneers in this area, continuously adapting Bridgit to the evolving needs of our carer community and the local support teams.”

It is increasingly being used across the Dorset health and social care landscape. Lizzie Eden, Dorset Healthcare Carers Engagement facilitator, said Bridgit was supporting Dorset’s unpaid Carers identify themselves.

“Often carers don’t label themselves as such, and therefore do not search for possible support. Dorset GP practices are working with Bridgit Care to help find those people, who are caring for others – improving support for them in their own right, to start to look at their own health needs and prioritise what they need and what they are entitled to.”

Bridgit is available to use now and people who prefer not to, or cannot go online, can call Carer Support Dorset on 0800 368 8349 to discover the free support and help available.

Join our free 30-minute online session specifically created for businesses and organisations to discover how they can become carer friendly.

Date: Monday 20 November 2023
Time: 1.00 – 1.30 pm
Booking: Reserve your free place on Eventbrite

What will you learn?
This 30-minute presentation provides valuable insights into what we mean by Carers and supports you to understand the challenges they face. Learn how to support the Carers who are your customers, clients, colleagues and members of your local community with an opportunity to gain more customers through our FREE marketing support.


Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to connect with other businesses and organisations, share experiences, and learn from our trainers, many of whom are Carers.

Register now to secure your place and embark on a journey towards becoming more Carer-Friendly!

Are you providing care for a partner, family member or friend? Join us for a free 30-minute online session about the benefits of our Carer Friendly ID Card.

Date: Tuesday 21 November 2023
Time: 7.30 pm – 8.00 pm
Booking: Reserve your free place on Eventbrite

Join us for a friendly online event on Tuesday 21 November 2023 at 7.30 pm to learn all about the Carers Friendly ID Card. This event aims to provide valuable information about this fantastic initiative and how it can benefit you as a carer.

Not sure if you are a Carer? Come anyway and find out!

The Carer Friendly ID Card is a special card designed to support and recognise the incredible work done by carers in our community. It offers a range of exclusive benefits and discounts to make your life a little easier.

During the event, we will explain how to obtain and use the card, ensuring you can access the benefits it provides. We’ll also answer any questions you may have, so you can make the most of this valuable resource.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover how the Carer Friendly ID Card can enhance your life as a carer. Join us online and take the first step towards unlocking the benefits and support you deserve.


Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to connect with other businesses and organisations, share experiences, and learn from our trainers, many of whom are Carers.

Register now to secure your place and embark on a journey towards becoming more Carer-Friendly!

Carers Rights Day is an annual event held on 24 November run by Carers UK to raise awareness of Carer’s rights and what support is available. The Theme for Carers Rights Day is Your Rights: today, tomorrow and in the future.

If you look after someone who needs your help due to a disability, serious illness, frailty or addiction, help is available to support you.

Dorset Council

Access a Range of Support

If you are a Carer and the person you are caring for lives in the 
Dorset Council area contact:

Carer Support Dorset  
Tel: 0800 3688349 
Register with Carer Support Dorset

Carers Rights Day Event

Find out more about how Carer Support Dorset can help you by coming along to their free event.

Date: Thursday 23 November
Time: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Venue: The Allendale Centre, Wimborne, BH21 1AS

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council

Access a Range of Support

If you are a Carer and the person you are caring for lives in the BCP Council area contact: 

Carers Resource Information and Support (CRISP)  
Tel: 01202 128787 
Register with CRISP

Carers Rights Day Event

Find out more about how CRISP can help you by coming along to their free event.

Date: Thursday 23 November
Time: 1:00 am – 4:00 pm
Venue: Citygate Church, 138b Holdenhurst Road, Wimbourne BH21 1A

Carers Rights Day Events Throughout Dorset

There are various events and activities happening across Dorset to mark Carers Rights Day for carers to get involved in. Together, we have collated this information to create a single programme of events: 

20 November 10:00 am – 1:00 pm The Vale Primary Care Network information and activities event, Marnhull

20 November 10:30 am – 12:30 pm Minstead Trust Family Carers drop-in, Poole

20 November 1.00 pm – 1.30 pm How Supporting Carers Can Help Your Business? – online session

21 November 10:00 am – 12:00 noon Parent Carer Foundation carers cafe session, Bournemouth

22 November 7.30 pm – 8.00 pm How can our Carer Friendly ID Card Help You in Your Caring Role? – online event

22 November 10:00 am – 12:00 noon Parent Carer Foundation carers cafe session, Poole

22 November 10:30 am – 3:00 pm Dorset Council information event, Weymouth

23 November 9:00 am – 12:30 pm PramaLife information event, Wimborne

23 November 10:00 am – 12:00 noon Two Harbours Healthcare drop-in information event, Weymouth

23 November 10:30 am – 3:00 pm Dorset Council information event, Bridport

23 November 10:30 am – 3:00 pm Dorset Carers Hub info event, Dorchester

23 November 1:00 pm  – 4:00 pm CRISP information event, Bournemouth

22 November 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm The Vale Primary Care Network information and activities event, Gillingham

The ‘Our Dorset’ ambition is for everyone to have the best possible health and care outcomes and live healthier, longer and fulfilling lives. That’s why our NHS organisations, councils and voluntary and community partners are working together in partnership to recognise, support and value unpaid Carers of all ages in Dorset County. 

These organisations include: 

Are you a Carer?
You may not think of yourself as a Carer, you may not even relate to this term at all as first and foremost you are either a parent, spouse, sibling, daughter, son or friend who offers help. A Carer provides voluntary physical, social or emotional support to sick or disabled family members or friends. Each caring role is unique and you may provide support for just a few hours a week or over 50 hours a week. Many Carers don’t see themselves as Carers and it takes them an average of two years to acknowledge their role as a Carer. You do not need to be in receipt of welfare benefits to be classed as a Carer to get help and advice.

The Theme for Carers Rights Day isYour Rights: today, tomorrow and in the future

Each year Carers UK promotes Carers Rights Day (23 November) where we’re joined by hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals raising awareness of caring, helping to identify carers and signposting them to information, advice and support.

Whether someone has recently become a Carer, realised they have been caring for a while without support or has been caring for someone for many years, it’s important they understand their rights and are able to access the support that is available to them whenever they need it.

Carers Rights Day empowers Carers with information and support. It helps them to feel confident asking for what they need and challenge things when their rights are not being met, whether that be in the workplace or education, in accessing health or social care, when interacting with other professionals or at home. For more information about Carers Rights Day visit: Carers Rights Day – Carers UK 

Recommendations for Carers

    1. Register as a carer with your GP surgery
    Being registered with your GP as a carer can provide you and the person you care for with more support, you can access shared appointments and access free flu vaccinations and so on.

    2. Register with your local carer support service:
    By registering as a Carer with your local Carer support service you can access a whole range of support, connect with other Carers like you and get a FREE Carer Friendly Photo ID Card with access to local and national discounts.

    If you are a carer and the person you are caring for lives in the Dorset Council area contact: 

    Carer Support Dorset  
    Tel: 0800 3688349 
    Register with Carer Support Dorset

    If you are a carer and the person you are caring for lives in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area contact: 

    Carers Resource Information and Support (CRISP)  
    Tel: 01202 128787 
    Register with CRISP

    There are various events and activities happening across Dorset to mark Carers Rights Day for carers to get involved in. Together, we have collated this information to create a single programme of events: