A highly skilled and knowledgeable team of Carer Connectors, based in Early Help Hubs (District Council offices) and in Norfolk County Council Adult Social Services offices, deliver one-to-one support in the community.  They are supported by a team of Community Support Volunteers.

You can refer yourself direct to a Carer Connector through an Early Help Hub, meeting them at a community event or be referred via the Advice Line. Once you’ve received support from a Carer Connector, you can at a future date, re-refer yourself into the service by contacting them direct using the contact details they provided to you.

What we can offer

Carer Connectors will offer:

  • Preventative Assessments – tailored support to help you maintain your health and wellbeing and independence;
  • Support Planning e.g. working with you to increase your local support networks;
  • Advocacy and representation e.g. support you to self-advocate and only where required, advocate on your behalf e.g. NHS Continuing Healthcare, Social Care, hospital treatment, DWP appeals and tribunals;
  • Support to access entitlements or grants;
  • Information & Advice (greater detail and complexity than the Advice Line);
  • Support with complex form filing (e.g. benefits, housing, major adaptations).
  • Carers Support Volunteers will provide:
  • Emotional Support and befriending;
  • Support to achieve a specific outcome you’ve identified what matters to you e.g. Attending a local social activity / Carers Peer Support Group;
  • Digital Inclusion support – helping you to access online support and gain skills in the use of technology (e.g. using a tablet to help you look for information on the internet or using a phone to communicate with your family).

We will help you gain the skills to self-advocate (speaking up and representing yourself) where possible or refer you into specialist services where appropriate. If you are unable to advocate yourself and other services are not available or would not fully meet your needs, Carer Connectors can provide advocacy and representation support.

Based in the Early Help Hubs or Adult Social Services offices, Carer Connectors work closely with multiple agencies, including:

  • Early Help Family Focus and Assessment Social Work teams in Children’s Services;
  • Adult Social Services;
  • Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (Mental Health);
  • Norfolk Police;
  • Housing and Benefits teams in District Councils;
  • Environmental Health;
  • Voluntary and Community Organisations;

Working together with partners in the hubs enables us to more easily find solutions to help achieve what matters to you.  Our Carer Connectors are also able to access food parcels from food banks for carers where there is an urgent need.

If you’re referred by the Advice Line or another professional or organisation into Community Support, a Carer Connector will make contact and arrange to visit you at home, a local café or other community venue of your choice.

What will happen

Before visiting, your Carer Connector will send you (by email or post) a ‘What Matters to Me’ assessment. This is a strengths-based tool which asks you to consider what is working well in your life; the areas that could be improved; what’s important to you and those you care for and what you would like to achieve in the future. It also asks you to think about how you could achieve what matters to you. You can choose to complete part or all of this at a time that suits you prior to the visit. If you’d prefer, the Carer Connector can support you during the visit to complete it.

We will complete a Carers Outcomes Star with you during the visit (or on a second visit) as part of the Preventative Assessment process. It helps both you and the connector to assess your quality of life using the Star Scales (across the 7 areas that carers said was important to them) and what support is needed to help continue caring with confidence. The Carers Star provides a visual way of showing you how you feel, the areas which work well and those where improvement is required.

Your Carer Connector will review your Carers Star with you at least once whilst they’re working with you. The review can be completed over the telephone or in person. This helps you and us track the progress you’ve made and the difference our agreed actions have made in supporting you achieve better wellbeing.

Underpinning the Star Scales is the ‘Journey of Change’, five stages carers go through as they improve their lives. Moving from cause for concern’ up to ‘as good as it can be’. This gives a measure of progress, or distance travelled, and a set of manageable steps you can take to become more independent.