Somerset County Council has contracted with Compass Disability Services a Somerset based User Led Organisation to deliver a County wide support service for Carers, the new service will be known as Compass Carers.

The overall aim of the service will be to support Carers, recognising the value and contribution they make to society offering individual support to enable them to maintain their caring role whilst having a life outside of caring.

This will be a brand new service in Somerset and Compass Disability Services will start establishing the service from the 1st October 2012. The official launch of the service will be the 4th February 2013 where all of the service will be in place.

Leading up to the 4th February 2013 Compass Carer’s will start to introduce elements of the service which are highlighted below.

Twenty seven staff have been, or are in the process of being, recruited to undertake roles and deliver this service.

The service will be promoted by a team of nine Carers Link Workers led by the Awareness Coordinator, who will work in conjunction with the Carers’ Champions in GP surgeries, the health and social care sector and a range of other organisations to publicise the help and support available for carers through Compass Carers.

Once people are identified as Carers it will be essential to ensure that a broad variety of information, detailing the support they can access through Compass Carers, is available for them in a range of accessible formats. It will be the responsibility of the Information and Evaluation Coordinator working with an Information and Evaluation Apprentice to ensure that this information is available.

There will be six Carers Support Workers who will work with Carers to help them recognise their needs and the outcomes they want to achieve in their life and will provide a method for them to access this support. Full public access to Carers Support Workers will be from the 4th February 2013. Carers Support Workers will also have the responsibility of referring carers who need an assessment through to Adult Social Care.

A  Volunteer Coordinator has been engaged to develop positive relations with existing volunteer support agencies throughout the County in order to recruit and manage volunteers who will offer a network of support for Carers.

A Training Coordinator will work with existing training providers and will introduce a new series of training courses during Spring and Summer 2013.

To ensure that the service is developed with the needs of Carers being paramount, four Carers Voice workers will attend Carers’ Support Group meetings and other venues where carers may be present to gain a detailed understanding of the issues, wants and needs that affect them.

In addition to this, in line with Compass Disability Services’ commitment to ensuring that its services are based on the needs of its users. We are in the process of recruiting a Steering Group of eleven Carers who will work in conjunction with senior members of the Compass Carers Project Team to guide the implementation and delivery of this new service and ensure it evolves to reflect carers’ needs.

As the project develops to its launch on the 4th February 2013 please check in at www.compasscarers.org.uk to find out how things are developing and events that we may be attending.