Discounts for carers
There are lots of exclusive discounts for carers, but it can be a minefield wading through them all. Take a look at our guide to money off. From carers’ discount cards, to carers go free. And deals on utilities to carer council tax discounts.
What discounts are there for carers?
There are many types of discounts available for carers. Carer's cards are one of the major ways that we can access reductions on goods and services, but they are not the only way. Read on to find out more.
What is a carer's card?
A carer’s card is simply a card that identifies us as being an unpaid carer. It is a form of ID to let supermarkets, GPs, pharmacies or attractions know that we are a carer, if proof is required.
We can apply for a carer's card by checking with our local authority to see if they offer a carer's card and what it can help with.
Sometimes they can be called a ‘carers' discount card’. But this may not be the case for all local authorities.
A carer’s card should also not be confused with an Access Card. Unlike a carer’s card, an Access Card is designed for a disabled person and shows that they need support from a carer, with the +1 symbol. Some places will accept Access Cards as proof of receiving a carer discount.
Local authorities that offer carer discount cards
Carers Support West Sussex’s Carer Discount Card allows money off on a range of their local businesses.
Durham Carers Card offers discounts on their local services in their directory.
Hampshire County Council’s Gateway Card offers free access to community activities, play schemes and buddy schemes for 0 - 17 year olds.
Hull City Council offers money off on local health and wellbeing services, as well as local businesses in their directory.
Newham Council - offers unpaid carers over 18 discounts on participating businesses such as pharmacies, leisure centres and many more.
Plymouth, 'Improving Lives' charity offers unpaid carers over 18 a free carers card. It provides discounts on different activities across their city to help support carers mental wellbeing.
We can also have a look at the Max Card which is a physical card. It’s the UK’s leading discount card for foster families and families of children with special needs. Explore the thousands of discounted days out.
Do let us know if we have missed any local authorities that offer great carer discount cards.
How do I get a carers' card?
The simplest thing to do is to ask our local carers’ centre, if there is a carers’ card in our local area.
Alternatively, we can use Google. Simply typing our ‘own local authority + carers card’ into Google, should bring up some useful links. For example typing “Hampshire carers card” into Google, brings up this link to their Gateway carers card.
Remember, not all local authorities issue carers’ cards.
What are digital carers' cards?
Digital carers' cards identify us as carers electronically, through an app or an online membership. There are now several digital versions of carers' cards available, at both a national and local level. Here are some we have found. Let us know if you’re aware of others, and we will happily update our guide.
Forward Carers also offers a virtual carers card. They have different packages that we can buy, starting from £10 which last two years. This can save us over £400 a year using the online discount. And even more on the high street.
The Carers Community App is a UK-wide carers ID app with a simple sign-up process.
Carer Smart, a club from Carers Trust also offers carers cash back, discounts and many more benefits. These include best rates from energy providers and reductions on our insurance renewals. Register here to see how much you can save.
Free stuff for carers
There is an array of ‘free stuff’ available for carers. From free or discounted days out for carers, to discounts on council tax, gas and electric in some areas. Take a read and see where you could be saving some pennies and perhaps enjoying a day out!
Where can carers go free?
If we’re planning a day out with the person we care for, it’s always worth checking to find out if a ‘carer goes free’. Many attractions now offer this carer discount.
If we have a place in mind, the best thing to do is to call them directly and ask. Or, simply type into Google, e.g. “National Trust carers go free” - the top search result is a link directly to their ‘access pass’ and info on how carers can go free.
Carers go free at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Aside from Blackpool’s notorious sandy beach in the UK, why not also plan a trip to Blackpool Pleasure beach. Carers get free admission into the park on the day whilst other members are advised to book an e-ticket in advance. We will need to show our DLA, PIP letter or a valid Blue Badge.
This is perfect because whilst at the ticket centre, we can also request for an EasyPass for the person we care for. This means the person we care for will not have to wait in long ride queues if they have any medical condition that prevents them from doing so.
Instead, they can enter and exit through the Speedy Gates, avoiding the main queue. Find out more about the eligibility for the EasyPass here.
Carers go free at the cinema
Did you know that as an unpaid carer, we can go to the cinema for free? Yes, that’s right! With a CEA card (which costs £6), we get free tickets to the cinema with the person we care for to provide assistance throughout the movie.
To apply, the person we care for must be receiving either:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Attendance Allowance (AA)
Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
We can find out more about our eligibility here.
We can also check to see if your local cinema have Theatre Access Passes. They may have free carers tickets
Secret Cinema also offers carers one free ticket, with proof via a DLA or PIP letter. A Blue Badge will also suffice. All we need to do is book before our arrival here. Take one step further from our day-to-day cinema experience and start experiencing a new secret world!
Carers go free at Chessington
If you haven’t been to Chessington, what are you waiting for? Carers are eligible for one free ticket if we are accompanying the person we care for. We’ll also need to show proof of disability for the person we care for
We can easily book our tickets online and then our carers tickets will be issued upon arrival. Start your booking process now!
Carers go free at Chester Zoo
Calling all the animal lovers! Chester Zoo, located in Cheshire, England. It’s one of the UK’s largest zoos, with over 350,000 animals for us to meet. There is plenty to do and most importantly, plenty of places to eat.
We can now also download their Chester Zoo Visitor app. This means we can ditch their paper map, and ask for directions directly through the app! Using an app as our guide is much more convenient, and will easily help us locate accessible facilities.
Carers go free at Disneyland Paris
We have all heard about the magic Disneyland Paris offers. And it is never too late to visit.
Disneyland Paris offers free tickets to carers of a disabled guest to assist them in their visit to the park. We can find the documents accepted for our free admission here.
Carers go free at Edinburgh Zoo
Carers in our community have also said great things about Edinburgh Zoo. Edinburgh Zoo is open seven days a week. So we can pick a day that is not too busy to best suit us. From animals and attractions, to education and experiences, start planning our fun day out here.
And of course, carers are also offered free admission into the park providing we bring proof such as an Access card with a ‘+1’ symbol, or DLA letter on the day.
Carers go free at Jarrow Hall
Jarrow Hall, an Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village, and Bede Museum is located in South Tyneside, England. From glass exhibitions, different family events to seeing animals, it is perfect for a day out. And carers also get a free entry ticket!
Simply choose a carer ticket when booking.
Carers go free at Legoland
Legoland, Windsor, almost every kids favourite (and ours too). A place of fun which sparks our creativity and inspires. Build amazing memories with their rides and attractions, such as their ‘Flight of the Sky Lion’ ride. With over 55 rides, there is something for everyone, whether we love heights or not.
Just like the other attractions above, carers who show a proof of status letter as well as a photo ID will be able to enter for free.
Carers go free at National Trust
Carers in our community recommended the National Trust. Days out at National Trust include beautiful summer gardens (perfect for picnic spots), cafes and fun family activities such as nature trails. There’s even refreshing coastal walks if we are one to connect more with the ocean.
The National Trust has an Essential Companion card, which allows us to bring another companion with us and both will be free of charge. We don’t have to sign up for this card to be admitted free of charge but it does make it quicker and more convenient for us in the future!
It’s also important to note that although most National Trust locations no longer require pre-booking, some still do. Take a look at some of the places that require booking beforehand to avoid disappointment on the day!
Carers go free at Paignton Zoo
Perhaps you are closer to Paignton zoo in Devon? Good news, we also get free entry as a carer. We simply just need to bring our PIP, DLA or Blue Badge documents to prove our role as a carer.
Alongside various disabled toilet facilities, Paignton zoo also has us covered by offering a free wheelchair with a returnable deposit of £20. By pre-booking this, that’s one more thing we can tick off our to-do list!
Carers go free at RHS Garden Bridgewater
If you live close to the Greater Manchester area, you may want to check out the RHS Garden Bridgewater. Immerse yourself in the beauty of colourful gardens and their flower shows.
Carers can also go for free when accompanying loved ones. Carers are not required to provide proof of carer status for the gardens.
And we can simply email them for any further questions here.
Carers go free at Twycross Zoo
Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire is also a carer’s go-to place in our community. Meet different animals from around the world including reptiles and tortoises as part of their conservation breeding programme.
They also have various fun upcoming events for 2021 so we don’t just have to plan a one-off trip during the summer.
Plan a day with our loved ones and enter the zoo for free with a valid blue badge card or PIP letter. Just ensure we book in advance before arriving.
Carers go free at Woburn Safari Park
Another carer in our community highly recommended Woburn Safari Park and expressed her satisfaction with the service provided by staff.
Not only do they have an on-foot safari, they also have a road safari through so we can experience different wild animals freely roaming around from the comfort of our own vehicles.
Simply book your free ticket online, providing proof of disability in the form of DLA, PIP or Blue Badge!
Can carers go free on trains?
Although there is no official scheme which allows carers to travel on trains and buses for ‘free’, the good news is we do get discounts off travel.
If the person we care for has a Disabled Person Railcard (which saves them a third off of travel) or a National Entitlement card (for Scotland) and we are travelling with them, then we are also entitled to the same discount. This can save us a lot of money in the long-run.
Can carers get a discount on Council tax?
The answer is yes. But getting a reduction on your council tax depends on if we live with the person we care for or if we live elsewhere.
If we live with the person we care for
If the person we care for is severely mentally impaired, they are excluded from paying council tax. This is classed as being disregarded.
As carers we may also qualify to be 'disregarded' for council tax, if we meet certain criteria.
There may then be subsequent discounts for other adults living in the property of 25% or 50%.
We may also get a discount on our council tax under the disability discount scheme.
If we live elsewhere
If we find our house is usually empty because our caring role requires us to spend more time with the person we care for, then our home may be exempt from council tax. We can find out the circumstances for this by visiting our local council’s website.
How do I apply for a council tax reduction?
This discount can be applied through our local councils. Simply visit their website or give them a call to find out more.
Can carers get money off gas and electricity?
The answer is yes! As carers, we may be entitled to certain payments to help cover the cost of our gas and electricity bill. Particularly during the winter months.
Here are some of the schemes we can consider:
Winter Fuel Payment (a one-off discount of £140 on our electricity bill between September and March each year.)
Cold Weather Payments (a payment of £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1st November 2021 and 31st March 2022.)
Warm Home Discount (an annual payment of between £100 and £300 to help pay our heating bills.)
Read our ‘Financial support in winter for carers’ blog which simplifies our eligibility and signposts us where we can go to apply.
Note it is also common to call up our gas and electricity supplier each year to see if they have any discounted tariffs for carers and vulnerable customers. They may be able to offer us a cheaper deal if we ask.
We may also want to check out LEAP, a free home-visit service which assesses if we are in need of any energy saving measures.
How do I prove I'm an unpaid carer?
We always recommend that you check directly with the venue or place you are visiting. Typical proof of carer status documents that are widely accepted include:
Note that these documents will have to be dated within the last 12 months.
Money saving carers
On top of the amazing discounts available for carers, there are also good money saving habits to have. Here are our top tips from carers on saving money are worth checking out.
Good finance habits
Save our loose change in a jar. An online version of save our change is available with lots of bank accounts too.
Split money for bills into a separate account - particularly good if we are paid weekly but bills go out monthly.
When phone contracts end, don’t carry on paying - switch to a sim only contract.
Pop to supermarkets about an hour before they close to hunt down yellow ticket or reduced items. Look out for the section or temporary trolley where they put these.
Most supermarkets have a loyalty scheme that might help us save points or get discount vouchers.
Making things last
When toiletries, cleaning chemicals, food in squeezy packaging is nearly finished, chop open the packaging to scoop out and not waste any
Add water to the last few drops of washing up liquid, hand soap to use every last drop
Make money from our spending
Spend less when we can
Mislay our bankers card
Make list of necessary items before descending on the shops, and keep to it.
Only go to the shops when they’re about to close.
Make list of necessities and ask a friend to shop for us.
Only buy essentials
Leave our card or cash at home if we are not going out with the intention of buying something
If we (or the person we are looking after) have more that four prescription items per year look into a pre-paid certificate. We can pay monthly.
Tell people about our caring role
Let our energy & utility companies know we are caring for someone
If we are struggling to pay a bill, let the company we owe know and let them know our caring situation
Places local to us may also offer a carer discount - don’t forget to ask
Register as a carer with your GP - you’ll get a free flu jab
We hope you have gotten some great ideas to start planning fun days out with the person you care for. Our list is continually growing. So please do let us know if you would love to add your favourite places to go (that have carer discount of course). We would love to hear from you.
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Ask us anything
What would you add? Please help us to continue to grow this resource by sharing your own experience and advice. You can do this by simply emailing us.