One of our members has asked this. It;'s a comonly asked question so I am posting reply here.
Re the Phoneline / Adviceline : I note that the 'opening hours' are pretty limited and from comments it seems that some folk can struggle to get through. I was just wondering what were the obstacles re. getting the 'opening hours' extended, assuming of course that the demand is real ?
Carers UK would love to open our Advice Line 7 days a week. Demand for the service is high - much more than we can deal with - and evaluation tells us that carers really value the service. Many carers end up financially better off after calling us. However attracting funding is difficult.
The Advice Line is a small team. We have two full time advisers and a manager and we also draw on the expertise found in our offices in Belfast and Cardiff. As well as answering the phone, the team also deal with hundreds of emails and are also responsible for making sure all Carers UK's written information is correct.
Because we know each carers' situation is different all our advice is tailored to the individual. We do not read from scripts like some generic helplines might do. This means that sometimes an individual call might in fact lead to several lengthy phone calls between adviser and carer, to get all the facts and advise the right course of action. This is obviously time consuming. But we do not want to lower the quality of what we do.
For all these reasons the advice line hours are sadly limited. The rest of the week when the line is closed our advisers are still on the phone to carers, but they are dealing with following up calls, messages and emails.
We understand how frustrating this is. We have fundraising staff who are constantly seeking new sources of funding for the advice line so we can recruit more staff and increase the service. We're very proud of our advice service and wish we could expand it.
Even though the hours are limited please call. If you leave a message or send an email - someone will get to back to you. All calls are dealt with in date order and you will be seen.