FAQs

Below are the most frequently asked questions on the together program. Please select an area below to explore answers.

How does the together program work for existing support groups?

How does together registration work for existing carer support groups?

Support groups that are currently meeting for carers of people with disability may face a range of difficulties in trying to keep their group up and running. The together program looks at linking support groups to organisations in order to overcome difficulties and sustain carer support groups so they can continue to provide ongoing assistance to the carers.


Existing support groups for carers of people with disability register with the together program for a range of reasons, some groups register with the aim of gaining:

  •  Peer support for carers.
  •  Partnerships between carer support groups and a local Regional Assisting Organisation (RAO).
  •  Education and training for support group facilitators to lead groups and for group members on a broad range of  relevant topics.
  •  Guest speakers to address group by request.
  •  Referral where appropriate to other supports.
  •  Financial assistance through applications to assist with some group costs.
  •  Promotion via the together program website and support group network.
  •  Networking between carer support groups across NSW.
  •  Capacity building to work with carers & carer support groups through equipping facilitators with relevant skills and knowledge.
  •  Facilitator training, debriefing & networking.
  •  Resources & materials in best practice carer support group provision.
  •  Improved community links through establishing and maintaining referral pathways for carers of people with disability.


Organisations participating within the program are called Regional Assisting Organisations which are linked to support groups for carers of people with disability within a geographical region of urban, regional or rural NSW.


Steps for an existing carer support group to become involved in the together program:


1) Read material online, talk to members of your group and decide whether registering your carer support group with the together program is something that could benefit the group. If you’re not sure, you can call Carers NSW on 02 9280 4744 and speak to someone from the together team.

2) Register Online or over the phone or via post The registration form is available here. Your registration form will be reviewed to ensure the together program is the right resource for your group. You will be notified of the outcome of your registration.  

3) Receive confirmation details! If your registration is successful you will be contacted with together membership details that include an online login and password to the resource section of this website.

 

The together program is centrally managed by Carers NSW. If you feel that your registration was not administered well please submit a complaint. You may also like to provide feedback on the ease and support you received in the registration process.

 

Existing group- case study 1

(please note support groups and names within the case studies below are hypothetical to illustrate how the together program may assist carer support groups)


The Coffee carer club of Felly Creek, NSW has been meeting on the first Monday night of the month for 8 months. The Coffee carer club is a group for family and friends who have a loved one living with an acquired brain injury (ABI). The group meets to have a casual chat and to update each other on what’s new in the disability services sector, although there is no ‘official’ leader, Kathy will ring all the members to remind them of group meetings and organise whose home the meeting will be held in from month to month. The group has identified some points they feel need to be addressed keep the group running.

  • They want to meet in a public venue and require both public liability and funds to make this happen.
  • They don’t have many members and want their group to grow.
  • They don’t have any handouts/materials to give to new carers who attend the group meetings for the first time.

If the Coffee carer club of Felly creek was successful with their registration process and joined the together program, linking with the Regional Assisting Organisation, could result in the following resolutions:
  • The Regional Assisting Organisation may be able to provide their own public liability for the group to meet in the local Felly creek hall. A small together program grant could be administered by the organisation to use for venue hire of the Felly creek hall.
  • Growth of members in the group may come about through the venue change, it may come about through advertising, printing and promotion of a support group flyer which could come from a small together program grant.
  • Each support group within the together program will receive access to a Referral Folder. This folder contains state-wide relevant documentation, information and referral options for carers of people with a disability. A hard copy can be requested through the together teamtogether@carersnsw.org.au

Additional benefits for the Coffee carer club joining the together program could include:
  • Kathy reading through carer support group facilitator material provided by the together program and identifying that her role is a lot bigger then she originally thought. Realising this, she has decided to attend free carer support group facilitator training (offered within the together program and by Carers NSW generally).
  • Kathy and the group being linked to the together program receive the together newsletter and find out about a support group for carers of people with an acquired brain injury close by at Bajjor creek. The two groups plan to meet over lunch later in the year.

 

 

Existing group- case study 2

The Tuross Head carers support group of Tuross Head, NSW has been meeting for 5 years and meets on the 3rd Saturday morning of the month for free in the local club. The Tuross Head carers support group is a carer support group that is mostly attended by people who care for a family member living with autism, although the group is open for other carers of people with disability. Jim leads the group, he and the group have talked about their future and have identified that they need help otherwise the group will fold.

  • Jim feels ‘burnt out’ and wants help with all the things he does in leading the group, Jim doesn’t want the group to fold but feels without him there will be no group. No one in the group believes they can “fill Jim’s shoes”.
  • The support group wants more carers (parents, partners and friends) of people with autism to attend. The group feels they don’t have the numbers to continue running.
  • The group wants to set up a ‘one-stop-autism-shop’ in town for families where there is autism to seek information and advice, this has been a support group goal for the last few years.
If the Tuross Head carers support group was successful with their registration process and joined the together program, linking with a Regional Assisting Organisation, the following could result:
  • Jim and other members of the group could attend free carer support group facilitator training where ‘burn out’ for group leaders is discussed. Resources and opportunities for debriefing provided by together membership also looks at sustaining support group leaders in their role.
  • Being linked to the Regional Assisting Organisation that covers Tuross head, may result in more referrals, more attendees at group meetings may come about through advertising, printing and promotion of a support group flyer which could come from a small together program grant.
  • Brainstorming ideas and sharing strategies for larger group goals occur throughout the carer support group network. The together newsletter, Facilitator Forums, Tele-meetings for facilitators are all ways the network maintains contact with each other.
Additional benefits for the Tuross Head carers support group joining the together program could include:
  • The group looking at new ways to sustain Jim in his leadership role, such as sharing work in the group or holding meetings less often.
  • The utilisation of a small grant to hold a social event that would not have occurred without grant assistance.

(please note support groups and names within the case studies are hypothetical to illustrate how the together program may assist carer support groups)

How does the together program work for new support groups?

Thinking of starting a new carer support group?


Starting up a new support group can be an exciting yet daunting process. Although many carers and staff members from organisations have a passion to have a group set up, it can be very confusing on how to go about it all.

New support groups for carers of people with disability register with the together program for a range of reasons, some groups register with the aim of gaining:

  • Peer support for carers.
  • Guidance for their new group.
  • Partnerships between their carer support group and a local Regional Assisting Organisation (RAO).
  • Education and training for support group facilitators to lead groups and for group members on a broad range of relevant topics.
  • Guest speakers to address group by request.
  • Referral where appropriate to other supports.
  • Financial assistance through applications to assist with some group costs.
  • Promotion via the together program website and support group network.
  • Networking between carer support groups across NSW.
  • Capacity building to work with carers & carer support groups through equipping facilitators with relevant skills and knowledge.
  • Facilitator training, debriefing & networking.
  • Resources & materials in best practice carer support group provision.
  • Improved community links through establishing and maintaining referral pathways for carers of people with disability.


The together program looks at linking new support groups to local organisations in order to provide some financial assistance and support to create a new carer support group so it can provide ongoing, sustainable assistance to carers. These local organisations are called Regional Assisting Organisations (RAOs) which are linked to support groups for carers of people with disability within a geographical region of urban, regional or rural NSW.


An individual can complete and submit a registration form to join the together program to access resources for their upcoming support group for carers of people with disability. If you want to set up a carer support group, but your registration is not successful for the together program, resources listed under "How do I set up a new carer support group" FAQ may be of help.

 

Steps for a new carer support group to become involved in the together program:

 
1)    Read this together program material online, investigate to see what other carer support groups may already exist in your local area, explore whether there is a community need for your carer support group, talk to potential members of your group and decide whether the together program is something that could benefit you in the set-up of your group. If you’re not sure, you can email together@carersnsw.org.au or call Carers NSW on 02 9280 4744 and speak to someone from the together team for suggestions and advice.

2)    Register Online or over the phone or via post The registration form is available here. Some of these questions may be tricky to answer as your group may not be meeting yet, try to answer the best you can based on the expectations of your group. Your registration will be reviewed to ensure the together program is the right resource for your group. You will be notified of the outcome of your registration.

3)    Receive confirmation details! If your registration is successful you will be contacted with together membership details that includes a login and password for the resource section of this website.



The together program is centrally managed by Carers NSW. If you feel that your registration process was not administered well please submit a complaint. You may also like to provide feedback on the ease and support you received in the process.


What is a support group for carers of people with a disability?

What's it all about?

A support group for carers of people with disability usually consists of a group of people who provide unpaid care to their family members or friends who live with one or more disabilities. Support groups for carers of people living with disability are usually exclusive to carers, so that they can openly discuss their caring situation and have some ‘time out’ from caring.

Support groups for carers of people with disability can meet in person or electronically (over the phone or via the internet) they can run for young carers and carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

These groups can be more formal being are led by a leader, facilitator, co-facilitator or president with the support of a treasurer, secretary and other positions and they can also be informal with no 'official' roles. 

Can I attend support group facilitator training?

Can I attend support group facilitator training?

As a facilitator of a registered group within the together program, you are welcome to participate in a free regional Facilitator Forum. Participation in these forums are opportunities for carer support group facilitators to come together and share knowledge of what works best in their groups.

Facilitator Forums are also a great chance for networking, meeting others with a passion for carer peer support and growing your skills in running a carer support group.


Along with the Facilitator Forums there will be opportunities to attend free workshops and other education and training courses related to running a support group for carers of people with disability.


The together team welcomes you to request training that you feel you need in order to sustain your support group. Training requests for carer support groups registered with the program can be emailed to together@carersnsw.org.au and by calling 02 9280 4744

What is a Regional Assisting Organisation?

What is a Regional Assisting Organisation?

A Regional Assisting Organisation (RAO) is the body that is linked with registered together support groups. An RAO can be a non-government organisation, a land council or local council.


There may be one RAO within each Local Health District of NSW (LHD) or a consortium of RAOs across an LHD to link with and deliver the together program to registered support groups.

How can my organisation become a Regional Assisting Organisation?

The selection process for RAOs are currently closed, however there are some areas in NSW that require an RAO for the together program. To enquire please email together@carersnsw.org.au


You may be from an organisation linked in with a number of support groups for carers of people with disability, you are welcome to register each of the support groups.

How do I set up a new carer support group?

Starting a group

Setting up a support group can be an exciting and scary time, it can feel like there is so much to do and so much to plan for. Support groups for carers (unpaid family members and friends) who care for a loved one with disability are often set up and run by carers. Facilitating a support group for carers of people with disability can be an incredibly rewarding job, but how do you start?

If you are setting up a new support group and carers of people with disability will attend then register your group with the together program for assistance.

Visit Join the together program to register your group.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about registration with the together program.

Resources that may assist you in setting up your carer support group

  • Learn more about why a carer support group is worthwhile here.
  • Explore the Carers NSW website for additional material and resources for carer support groups.

 

Are there funds for my support group?

What money can the together program provide to my group?

Please note that the together program is a state-wide resource for support groups attended by 

carers of people with disability.

 

The together program can provide financial assistance to some registered carer support groups. Small funds are provided as a contribution to group running costs. The amount of funding provided to a group is based on local need rather than a fixed amount.

Financial assistance to groups registered with the together program aims to assist carer support groups to become self-sustaining into the future.

For example;

Kerry’s Carer support group may require $30 a month for 12 months for venue hire. Kerry may request the total of $360 from the local together liaison of the local Regional Assisting Organisation (RAO) in her area.

Claire’s Carer support group may identify that they need venue hire costs, $40 a month for 12 months ($480), advertising to attract carers that are unaware of their support group and other carer services ($250 on brochures) and the group may identify that several members could attend if community transport costs could be covered for a few meetings ($400). A total of $1,130 may be requested by the group to the local together liaison.

Please see the Fund Expenditure Guidelines for further details on what together funds can and cannot be spent on. This is not an exhaustive list and for further elaboration please email the together team on together@carersnsw.org.au

Support groups that have successfully received funds within a financial year are likely to receive some additional funds in the following financial year. Support group facilitators need to communicate any financial need with their local together liaison.

 

Steps in achieving small funds for your group;

1)    Talk to your carer support group & decide whether the together program is something that your group wants to be a part of.

2)    Register your carer support group here

3)    Once your group is registered, you will receive an email introducing you to your local together liaison within your local Regional Assisting Organisation (RAO).

 

Some areas of NSW currently do not have a RAO and Carers NSW will directly administer funds within those areas to ensure groups are included across NSW.
For more information on ‘Regional Assisting Organisations’ please see the FAQ ‘What is a Regional Assisting Organisation’

Can my group apply for a Carers Week grant?

Can my group receive together funds and a Carers Week Grant?

Yes. If your carer support group is registered with the together program and has received (or will receive) together funds your group can also apply to receive a Carers Week Grant.

The Carers Week Grant Program, funded by NSW Department of Family and Community Services, will provide carer support groups and organisations across New South Wales with funding of up to $250 to organise an event or activity for carers during Carers Week.

Organising an event is a wonderful way to give carers a much-needed break and to honour them in the community. Most events also bring in new members to carer support groups and are a great way to reach out to the hidden carers in your area.


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