Return to Work Carers Project

The Return to Work Carers Project helps residents who are 16 years old or over and have ongoing caring commitments, and either want to find work or want a change of employment to better suit their caring responsibilities, to access a range of route-ways into local jobs. The project is delivering until 31 March 2024 

The lead partner for the Project is North Tyneside Carers Centre, with delivery support from Carers Northumberland and Newcastle Carers.  Their project team includes a Senior “Carers into Work Adviser” and two “Carers into Work Advisers”, who provide a range of flexible participant-led specialist support to carers across the North of Tyne.  This support includes assessing the participants support needs, exploring options to overcome or reduce barriers to work, building skills and confidence and supporting them to take up suitable employment opportunities. 

A key aspect of the project is encouraging more employers to adopt carer friendly work policies and practice, in line with the Confident Carer benchmarking scheme and wider objectives of the North of Tyne Good Work Pledge, to ensure availability of inclusive and flexible roles that provide carers with the ability to fit their caring responsibilities around work.  

The project works in partnership with employability and skills providers across the region – linking in with the Employment Partnerships and supporting delivery of partnership-based job fairs, events and drop-ins, as well as delivering specific project events such as employment and training provider “take-over” days that coincide with Carers Rights Day and Young Carers Action Day. 

If you have any queries or would like any further information about this project, please contact Nicola Dunn, NTCA Inclusive Economy Project Manager:  

Alternatively, you can access the North Tyneside Carers Centre website.


Return to Work Carers Project Good News Story from North Tyneside Carers Centre

The participant, aged 31, was referred to North Tyneside Carers’ Centre in April 2022 by their Social Worker after reaching crisis point with their caring role as well as their own mental health.  

They had been supporting their father who has progressed Vascular Dementia alongside mental health conditions such as severe Depression and Anxiety for several years. The participant’s father’s conditions had deteriorated to such an extent that they had to make the difficult decision to leave their previous career as a fashion designer to look after him.  

At the time of approaching the Centre, the participant was solely responsible for their father’s care including physical, emotional, financial, and practical care throughout the day and all household chores. Completing tasks such as shopping caused them considerable anxiety as they were worried to leave their father. 

Initially the participant was given intensive and wide-ranging support by the Carers Centre, which helped to stabilise their caring role and their own wellbeing and confidence. 

A face-to-face appointment was then made between the participant and a Carers into Work Adviser, during which they clearly and eloquently identified that, whilst the caring role was intensive, they wished to focus on their own goals for the first time since beginning to care for their father. 

The participant agreed that volunteering would be a beneficial first step. The Advisor thoroughly researched opportunities on the participants behalf and a local charity, Walking With, was identified as a clear opportunity as it supported local migrants in the community close to the participant’s home, which would reduce the need for travelling long distances away from their father. 

The participant fell in love with Walking With at this first meeting, enthusiastically agreeing to support their ‘Fit and Healthy Scheme’ for two days a week which also allowed them to exercise – something that they loved but had unfortunately not been able to undertake consistently since commencing the caring role.  They also agreed to support Walking With’s work with local schools’ Christmas plays, where they could help to make costumes, utilising their experience as a fashion designer for the first time in several years.. 

To support the participant to undertake this opportunity the project funded monitoring cameras which would allow them to check in with their father when they left the house, letting them quickly respond to crises such as falls or other accidents. 

As a result of the interventions provided, the participant no longer feels at crisis point – they regularly volunteer with Walking With and feels closer to achieving their goal to return to full time employment:   

“Since starting my volunteering role at Walking With, it has helped me regain some of my self-confidence, people skills, and get out of my comfort zone. It has also given me the opportunity to give back to my community and to offer support to those in vulnerable situations.”