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To mark Carers Week 2024, charities Access Social Care and Carers UK have teamed up to provide unpaid carers in England with a new specialist online resource dedicated to supporting them to activate their own rights as a carer.

To meet growing demand for free legal information, the award-winning online solution, AccessAva, has been developed by Access Social Care to provide 24/7 independent legal support and guidance to people across England. It helps adults, families and carers who need health and social care support by offering legal information, guidance or a letter to help resolve social care problems (written and reviewed by lawyers), and prioritises a person-centred approach, takes the user through their situation and uses AI technology to learn from chatbot conversations.

The new resource provides specific guidance on carers’ rights including accessing a carer’s assessment, alternative support when care cannot be provided and ending a caring role.  

Carers UK’s own research into carers’ assessments and support has found that the process is commonly poorly understood by carers and that it can fall short of delivering their rights set out in law.

Carers UK’s State of Caring 2023 report1 found that only 18% of unpaid carers surveyed said they had an assessment at the point of hospital discharge even though they were providing substantial care. One third (33%) of unpaid carers who had received a carer’s assessment said that it did not properly consider their need to take regular breaks.2  

Madeleine Starr MBE, Director of Carer Services at Carers UK said

“For unpaid carers who are already time poor, exhausted by caring, overwhelmed with administration and bewildered by complex care systems, they need every bit of help they can to get their basic entitlements to carers’ assessments and to support.

“We are delighted to be working with Access Social Care and using their online solution, AccessAva to start to improve unpaid carers’ journey through the care system and get the help to which they are entitled and desperately need.

“Our advice services often hear from carers who have challenges with social care support. This resource helps us to reach and support many more carers than ever before.

“It’s exciting to see how we can learn from this process as well as using insights from data and AI to ensure that we can continuously improve our services and support directly to unpaid carers.”

Kari Gerstheimer, Chief Executive of Access Social Care said

“We are working towards a future where social care is adequately funded, and we all get the support we need. We are really proud to be partnering with Carers UK, and we hope that, through this collaboration, many more carers will use AccessAva and get the support they are entitled to."

The 2021 Census shows that there are 4.7 million unpaid carers looking after disabled, older or ill relatives or friends in England, with over 400,000 providing over 50 hours of care per week. The support they provide is worth £152 billion a year, equivalent to a second NHS.3

The resource, AccessAva, can be accessed here:


Notes to Editors:

1 and 2 Carers UK’s State of Caring surveys for 2023: and State of Caring 2022:

3 Valuing Carers, Professor Matthew Bennett and Dr Maria Petrillo: The value of the NHS at the time was £156 billion in England, compared with carers’ support at £152 billion.


Source: Carers UK

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