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Find care and support services

Find information about social care and support services for people living in County Durham.

Online help and advice

If you, or a friend or relative is in need of care and support, visit our website - Locate.

Locate is a free online resource offering a wealth of information, advice and services to help you live independently.

Emergency situations

If you're in urgent need of help, contact Social Care Direct.

Adult Care and Support in County Durham

What you need to know

At some point in our lives, many of us may need help to enable us to live as well as possible with an illness or disability. This help, known as care and support, is the term used to describe assistance given by family and friends, as well as any help provided by other people or organisations including the council. Care and support can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, dressing and meal preparation. It may also include emotional support at times of difficulty or stress. Decisions about care and support will usually be made by the individual concerned. This places them in control of the help they receive which enables people to remain well and independent for longer.

This information is intended as a guide, to help you if you are looking for care and support services. The information will also assist you if you are considering future care and support needs, including how you will be able to pay for the services you may need in the future.

Finding out about care and support

If you live in County Durham and think you need care and support, your first step should be to visit our Locate - care and support in County Durham website

Locate - care and support in County Durham hosts a range of information and advice, including organisations to help you live as independently as you can.

If you find using the internet difficult, ask a carer, friend or relative who you are happy to share your information with, to help you. You can use computers for free at your local library (booking advisable). If you don't have anyone who can help or can't access the internet, please contact Social Care Direct who can assist you with your care and support needs over the telephone.

About the Care Act 2014

If you are not eligible for care and support from the council, we will tell you about organisations who may be able to help you.

The national eligibility criteria set a minimum threshold for adult care and support. All councils must meet needs at this level.

The threshold is based on identifying how an individual's needs affect their ability to achieve relevant desired outcomes and whether as a consequence this has a significant impact upon their wellbeing. We have produced a useful factsheet 'Eligibility criteria for adults with care and support needs' which is available on Locate under Adult Social Care and Health.

You can also find out more by reading The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 and the Care and support statutory guidance.

About the Financial Assessment

Care and support, unlike health care, is not free to everyone at the point of delivery. Many people pay for their own care and support. However, if you have any needs that are eligible for care and support arranged by the council, you may wish to apply for financial help. This is done through a Financial Assessment, which is the way that the council works out how much you can afford to pay towards the cost of your care and support. When we carry out the Financial Assessment you must give us information about your income, assets, and savings.

Personal Budget

If you have a Financial Assessment which shows you are eligible for support, you will be allocated a Personal Budget to meet your eligible care and support needs. A Personal Budget includes money the council will pay, and money (if any) that you will pay. You can use your Personal Budget to pay for the support described in your Care and Support Plan (or Support Plan if you are a carer). There are different ways of managing your Personal Budget such as Direct Payments and there will be help and support available to help you decide which option is best for you.

Direct Payments

Direct Payments are money paid from the council to people who request them to meet some or all of their eligible care and support needs. Direct Payments provide independence, choice and control by enabling people to buy their own care and support to meet their eligible needs.

Welfare benefits

Our welfare rights team can help with questions and problems on a wide range of social security benefit and tax credit issues. There is more information on Get help with your benefits (Welfare Rights).

If you are someone who provides unpaid care for another adult, then you are a carer. Most people who are carers do not see themselves as carers but as husbands, wives, partners, parents, children, siblings, or friends.

Caring for someone can be a very demanding role. You are entitled to a Carer's Assessment, which will look at the different ways that caring affects your life, including your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

More information about being a carer can be found on Durham Carers Infopoint.

Equipment to help you stay independent

There is a wide range of equipment available to help you to be more independent within your home. Many high street retailers now stock equipment for the public to purchase. 

If you live in County Durham and are not sure what equipment you might need, the council's Independent Living House can help you to identify what may be of benefit to you. An appointment can be made to try equipment before you commit to buying or hiring. You find out more by visiting the Equipment Advice Service page or by searching on Locate - care and support in County Durham.

The Community Equipment Service specialises in lending equipment to people who are ill or disabled to help with their nursing, social and rehabilitation care. The equipment can help you to maintain your independence and remain in your own home. This service will only supply equipment if you have an assessed need and are eligible for care and support.


Locate is a free online resource for adult care and support information and advice.

It lists everything from leisure and community activities to products and services to help you to live as independently as possible, including:

  • daily living and equipment
  • help at home
  • leisure and community activities
  • staying healthy and well

By answering a few simple questions, you may be able to find services to help you with your care and support needs.

Find products and services by visiting the Locate - care and support in County Durham website.

Help with DIY around the home

Several companies can help with services of this type which can offer direct assistance with small repairs and minor adaptations that will help you in your home. A popular choice is the County Durham Handyperson Service, who carry out a range of home maintenance tasks and small repairs. Criteria for using this service is available on Locate - care and support in County Durham.

Home care

Home care, sometimes known as domiciliary care means that someone will come into your home to help with:

Personal care and keeping you safe

This can include things like washing, bathing, eating, drinking, getting up and going to bed.

Domestic tasks such as preparing meals doing laundry, ironing cleaning or shopping (please note, even if you are eligible for care and support from the council this type of help would only be provided in exceptional circumstances).

You will find home care services listed on Locate - care and support in County Durham.


There are lots of meal service providers on Locate - care and support in County Durham, some of which will be available for delivery to your home. Even if you are eligible for care and support from the council, we will not pay for meals or their delivery, but we can help you obtain meals from a provider of your choice.


Telecare is the name given to alarms and technology that can recognise when there is a problem or emergency in your home. Sensors can detect if you have an accident in your home, are unwell or need help. Equipment is linked to a community alarm service or by a pager to a relative or carer. You can find local organisations on Locate - care and support in County Durham.

Integrated health and social care services

Services are available for people with care and support needs arising from a learning disability or mental health problem.  Examples include support from psychiatrists, community nurses, therapists, and psychologists. Specialist teams include:

Integrated Mental Health teams

These provide specialist support for people with mental health needs and their carer's.

Older People's Mental Health teams

These provide specialist care and support for people with mental health needs associated with ageing.

Learning Disability teams

These provide specialist care and support for people with a learning disability.

If you are concerned about yourself or a family member who appears to be mentally unwell, please contact your GP.

Contact Social Care Direct to find out whether integrated health and social care services can offer you any support.

Local support groups

Many people feel isolated at times. A support group can give you the opportunity to meet new people and give you a chance to talk about everyday issues with others who understand. A break from your usual routine can sometimes help, as can making new friends and taking part in leisure activities. Visit Locate - care and support in County Durham to find groups near you.

Day activities

Day activities offer a wide range of opportunities for older people and people with disabilities. You can also learn new skills and hobbies, meet other people and a meal may even be provided during your visit. There are organisations throughout County Durham which provide day activities. Visit Locate - care and support in County Durham to view local services.

Short term care (also known as respite care)

If you are admitted to a care home for a short period of time, this is known as short term care or respite care. It is helpful in giving you or your carer a break. There are several different services available. Visit Locate - care and support in County Durham to view local services.

Hospital Social Work Team

Intermediate care provides support, recovery and rehabilitation and can help avoid admission to hospital, support discharge from hospital, avoid premature admission to residential care and help faster recovery from illness. You will need to be referred to this service by your doctor, a social worker or other professional and have an assessment to see if the service is suitable for you.

Supported living

Supported living (sometimes called supported housing) helps those with eligible care and support needs to be as independent as possible. This is done through a combination of housing with on-site support, including personal care. It offers adults with a disability an alternative to moving into a care home. Moving into supported living is viewed as a house move rather than a move into care and you would have a tenancy agreement with a housing provider.

Extra Care housing

Extra Care offers older people with eligible care and support needs an alternative to moving into a care home. Moving into Extra Care is more like moving to a new house rather than a move into residential care. You will have your own flat in a specially designed housing complex with 24-hour care and support available on site. You can decorate your flat to your own taste. You will have a tenancy agreement and will need to contribute towards your care costs.

Residential care

If your needs can no longer be met in your own home, then residential care may be appropriate for you. There are lots of residential homes in County Durham, which offer a variety of services tailored to you. If you cannot fund your own care but think you need residential care, you will need an assessment by a social worker. More information can be found on Locate - care and support in County Durham.

Nursing homes                                                     

Nursing homes provide nursing care 24 hours a day. They have professionally qualified nurses among their staff. If you cannot fund your own care but think you need nursing care, you will need an assessment by a social worker and a registered nurse. Your social worker will help you find a home which meets your care needs.

Blue Badge disability parking scheme

Blue Badge permits are available for car drivers and passengers with severe mobility problems. Permits are also available for people who are registered blind or who need essential medical equipment nearby which is too heavy to carry around. You can find out how to apply for a permit by visiting our Blue Badge disability parking scheme.

Bus pass

If you qualify for state pension, or have disabilities, then you may be eligible for free travel on buses. Visit our Apply for a bus pass to find out how to apply, amend or replace your bus pass.

Access bus

The access bus provides people who have limited mobility with a door-to-door transport service to popular shopping and leisure destinations. Visit our Access Bus service for more information.


The Link2 bus service is a pre-bookable bus service for people making journeys (up to five miles) where there is no other suitable bus. This is often in rural areas where bus services can be limited. All buses are fully accessible. Visit our Alternative bus services for more information.

Bridge Card scheme

If you travel on the bus alone but struggle because of your age, a disability or illness, or even if you lack confidence, carrying a Bridge Card can help. The bus driver will help you with things like counting your change, telling you when you have arrived and helping you if you are worried about your journey. Visit Locate - care and support in County Durham for more information.


If you are aged 60 or over, disabled, a young person (16-25) or a student, you can apply for a railcard. There is an up-front fee but then you'll be able to get a third off most standard and first-class rail travel.

You may find the following key information useful.

Safeguarding adults

Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse.

Abuse is behaviour that deliberately or unintentionally causes harm to another person whether physical, verbal, emotional or in some other way.

If you have concerns about a vulnerable adult e.g., someone who needs care and support because of a physical, learning disability or mental health you must report what you know.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.

Please see our dedicated County Durham Safeguarding Adults Partnership for full details on how we can help, or you can call Social Care Direct on 03000 26 79 79. A Social Care Direct officer will listen carefully to what you say, give advice and take a safeguarding or adult protection referral, if necessary, even when the caller wishes to remain anonymous. If the person is in immediate danger call 999.

Support with making decisions (advocacy)

Every day we make decisions about lots of things in our lives. The ability to make decisions is called mental capacity.

Some people have difficulty making decisions, either some or all the time. This could be a result of dementia, a brain injury or stroke, or a person with a mental health problem or with a learning disability.

The Mental Capacity Act ensures that the rights of vulnerable adults are protected. It also enables people to plan for a time when they may lose capacity. Under this Act you can have access to an independent advocate. This is a person who speaks up for others who will ensure that your wishes are considered. More information can be found on Locate - care and support in County Durham.

If you have substantial difficulty in being involved in the assessment and care and support planning process and do not have an appropriate person to support and represent you, we can arrange for an independent advocate to help you express your views and wishes.

Sharing information about you

General Data Protection Regulation contains information about consent and explains your rights under the GDPR. For more information, please visit the website of the Information Commissioner.  

You can find out how we will store and use data about you in our  Privacy notice - adult and health services (PDF) [198KB] .

Access to personal records

Where the council provide care and support services, we collect personal information about the people we are providing services for. You have the right to know what information is held about you. You are also entitled to know who supplied the information, for what purposes it is being used and who it is being shared with.

A factsheet is available which explains why we keep your records and how you can access the information we hold.

Transition - becoming an adult

Transition is the time when you change from being a teenager to being an adult at 18 years. During this time lots of things will change in relation to your care and support. We will help you to plan your transition into adulthood, when you will move from children's services to adults' services.

Comments, compliments and complaints

We encourage people to tell us what they think about any aspect of our service. We want to know if people feel we could do something better or if we are doing something well. It is by listening to service users and their carers that we can find out what people really think about the way care and support services are arranged or provided and how things might be improved. Further information about this can be found on Make a complaint, or by asking Social Care Direct, your social worker or the person carrying out your assessment.

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