Carers campaign focus groups

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Purpose The Communications Service plans to run a campaign to encourage carers to access the support that is available to them.

This research was commissioned by the Communications Service to help it understand which aspects of support are most important to carers and to gain a greater insight into effective channels and messages to promote the support available to carers.
Subject Carers
Commissioned by Communications Service and Carers Service
Geographic area Hyndburn
Method Focus group
Consultation with Parents/carers
Service users
Special interest group
Date 12/07/2012 - 19/07/2012
Undertaken by Corporate Research and Intelligence Team


Key findings - Getting people to identify themselves as a carer is important in getting people to access the support available to them. Most participants didn't immediately see themselves as a carer, and so weren't looking for support, because they felt that looking after their loved ones was just part of being a family.
- There was concern that there is a stigma for some people in accessing support for carers for a number of reasons. Participants felt that some people are too proud to ask for support, are afraid that they will have to reveal a lot of personal information, or think that asking for support will mean they then have to involve social services for example.
- Participants found out about the support available to them as carers through a number of sources. Several participants had seen leaflets or posters for their local carers' centre, and a couple of participants said they had been contacted directly by their local carers' centre. Many participants found out about support available through word of mouth.
- Participants felt that finding information about support available to carers is currently difficult and participants' knowledge of the support available, even though they are in contact with the carers' centres, was not good in all cases.
- Participants pointed out that, as carers, they come into contact with a number of professionals, for example GPs and social workers, who would be ideally placed to signpost carers to support. Most participants found that the professionals were focused only on the cared for person and didn't make the link to offer support for the carers.
- Participants agreed that sessions where they could get together with other carers at the carers' centres are very important to them with some saying it is the most important support they receive.
- Once participants had accessed the carers' centres, they then got further information about support available to them through, for example, the centre newsletter or through talking to other carers.
- A number of participants noted that extra resource may be needed to support any extra carers that this campaign identified.
- Participants felt that the campaign should help people identify themselves as carers by, for example, listing the sort of activities that carers may do for the person they care for or the sorts of issues that the cared for person may have.
- Participants felt the campaign would be most useful if it directed people to a central hub of information about the support available for carers.
- Participants suggested using local radio and television if possible, as well as posters and leaflets for the campaign. They felt that visual materials should be placed where many people are likely to go on a regular basis, for example supermarkets or GPs surgeries.
- A number of participants suggested promoting the campaign through schools and colleges to target young carers.
- Participants pointed out that the word 'carer' can be confusing as some people think it refers only to paid carers. Some participants suggested that using the terms 'support' or 'look after' rather than 'care for' or 'carer' would help to avoid this confusion.
Outcomes The research helped inform an advertising campaign across radio, inside buses and on posters in community areas. The research highlighted that people didn't realise they were a carer, so the campaign sought to highlight what being a carer involved so that carers could identify with their own situation.

Project document(s)


Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

Rebecca Robinson
01772 537787

Mick Edwardson
01772 530290