Skip to main content

Introduction

    Your Trust recognises that some individuals require the support of another person to access our services and facilities safely. This person may be referred to as a carer, a personal assistant (PA) or a support worker, but we recognise that these terms are not exclusive and sometimes people may choose to use another term to describe someone performing a caring or support role for them. For the purpose of this policy, the term ‘carer’ will be used to denote anyone performing this role.

    Definition

    A carer is defined as someone over the age of 18 and who is providing support to another individual accessing a Your Trust venue or service, who would be unable to access the service or facility safely without that support. Support may be related to mobility, guiding, personal care, healthcare needs, behaviour, communication support, or emotional/mental health, and the carer must remain with the individual that they are supporting and meet these needs for the duration of the visit. The carer’s role cannot be limited to companionship or support with travel, and people who are providing this support only will not be classed as carers for the purpose of this policy.

    For the purposes of this policy, a carer may be paid or unpaid unless otherwise specified.

    Legal situation

    The Equality Act 2010 specifies disability as a protected characteristic. This means that someone with a disability cannot be treated less favourably as a result of their disability. In practical terms, this means that if an individual is unable to access a service or venue without a carer, but is able to safely and appropriately access with a carer, then the carer should not be prevented from accessing that facility with them. However, there is no legal right for a carer to be given free access to a venue, and so any waiver of access fees or offer of a discount is discretionary. Any other adjustments that an individual requires will be made if they are reasonable and practical for us as an organisation.

    Carer access – leisure centres

    A member or casual user is entitled to bring one carer with them at no cost when attending the site (designated hereafter as ‘essential carer’). If an individual requires the support of more than one carer then they should discuss this with staff at the site or session in question. Access to two carers will be granted wherever this is reasonable, but access to certain facilities such as the gym or some classes may be restricted due to space. If an individual requires more than two carers, then this should be discussed with the Inclusion Lead, who will seek to understand the situation and reasons for multiple carers and then liaise with facilities and the senior leadership team as required before a decision is made. Our inclusion lead can be contacted at inclusion@yourtrustrochdale.co.uk

    On entry to the facility or session the member / user must register (with payment unless a pre-paid member) for the appropriate activity, and identify their essential carer. The essential carer shall be permitted to:

    • Support with activity within the gym / group exercise class; this may include assistance with programming a machine, physical support with movement or transfers, guiding around the location, and direct supervision, as well as any medical assistance that may be required at any point.
    • Access the swimming pool area to support their activity within the pool, either on poolside or in the water depending on the needs of the individual. This may include working with leisure attendants to assist safe entry and exit from the water, support of the individual within the water, swimming alongside the individual, guiding the individual, or direct supervision, as well as any medical assistance that may be required at any point.
    • Enter the thermal suite, sauna and steam rooms with their individual to support with mobility, transfers, guiding, or direct supervision, as well as any medical assistance that may be required at any point.

    Carer restrictions – leisure centres

    Carers must be supporting the person that they are there to support at all times. A carer is NOT entitled to do their own workout if they have accessed on a free of charge ‘essential carer’ basis. This means:

    • An essential carer cannot use the gym/fitness equipment for their own workout. They may use a piece of equipment briefly to demonstrate correct and appropriate usage where this is a requirement of the support needed by the individual they are caring for, but they cannot work out alongside that person on another piece of equipment.  
    • An essential carer cannot participate in a fitness class alongside the individual that they support. They can provide additional demonstration for the individual they support (such as maintaining option A where the instructor has given three options and told people to choose the one appropriate to them) where required.
    • An essential carer cannot do their own swim separately from the person they support. They may remain in the shallow end while the person they support swims lengths, if this is required for direct supervision in accordance with the individual’s support needs.
    • A carer cannot take the individual that they are supporting into the deep part of the pool unless that individual is capable of swimming safely and unaided at that depth. This is a health and safety requirement, and any carer found to be taking an individual who cannot swim unaided into deep water will be asked to return to the shallow end immediately and may be refused entry if this situation reoccurs.
    • An essential carer cannot use the thermal suite, sauna or steam rooms unless they are alongside the person they support at all times.

    Carer access – leisure centres additional information

    Any carer who wishes to participate fully alongside the person they support may do so by purchasing a casual access ticket or holding a valid membership in their own right for the activity that they wish to participate in. Unpaid carers may be entitled to a discount via the Your Card Extra scheme. Eligibility for this can be checked with reception staff or via the Your Trust website.

    Different rules around participation apply to classes that are part of the Inclusive Activity Programme; in these sessions carers are permitted to participate fully without additional payment when accompanying the person they support. These classes are not included within the Health and Fitness memberships, and will have ‘Inclusive’ in the class title (e.g. Inclusive Multisports). These classes are specifically targeted to and tailored for people with learning or multiple disabilities who would usually be unable to attend the gym or other mainstream provision. It is understood that these individuals may not participate at all unless their carer is doing the same activity at the same time, and the class numbers and set-up takes account of this.

    Carer access – Hollingworth Lake Adventure & Water Activity Centre

    Carers are welcome to accompany individuals to activities at Hollingworth Lake Adventure & Water Activity Centre. The carer is required to complete a registration and participation form if they are joining the person they support on the lake.

    For some activities such as sailing on the Lady Katherine passenger boat, the carer is able to join the person they support and there is no charge for this. If the individual has more than one carer, we would encourage them to contact the team before attending and the team will accommodate them wherever possible.

    For other activities, the capacity of equipment means that a carer would not be able to join the person they support, and would need to wait on the shore.

    Carers or the person they support (as appropriate) are encouraged to contact the reception team at the lake to discuss specific requirements, and access to some activities may not be possible for a person who requires a carer to be in close proximity with them at all times.

    Carer access – entertainment venues

    Your Trust events team operate an essential companion scheme for individuals who cannot access our events without support, to enable a carer to obtain a free ticket. This is only open to people who have care needs that must be met during the event, whether related to mobility, guidance, emotional/behavioural support or personal care, and the essential companion will be expected to remain with the individual and meet these needs throughout their visit. They will also be expected to liaise with event staff regarding any requirements if the building should need to be evacuated.

    More information and the application form can be accessed here https://www.yourtrustrochdale.co.uk/link4life-essential-companions-scheme/

    The essential companion scheme allows for one carer. People who have an essential need for multiple carers should contact the box office for advice.

    There is only a limited number of Essential Companion tickets available per performance, we therefore recommend booking in advance to secure seats.

    Carer access – cultural venues and activities

    Many cultural activities and venues run by Your Trust offer open and free access to the public, and in this case there is no restriction to the presence of, or number of, carers.

    Where a workshop, performance or ticketed function is held, a carer may attend at no cost with the individual that they support. If space is limited then multiple carers may not be able to access with an individual, but wherever possible an access request for multiple essential carers will be granted and consideration will be given to carer access when selecting a space for an event.

    Sometimes groups are held at Your Trust cultural venues which are targeted to specific groups. In this situation an essential carer might need to share that essential characteristic, to ensure that the carer presence does not disrupt the purpose of the group.