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Early help

If you have questions about Social Care contact the Adult Access Team where a team of advisors are available from 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. We will have a conversation with you to understand your situation and offer you advice, guidance and/or signposting to appropriate support services.

We will look at what is going well and what support is already available to you that we can build on from family, friends and your local community.

If at the end of the conversation there is a need to progress further, we will ask the local Social Care team in the area you live to contact you.

What happens in a crisis?

In a crisis, we will try to act quickly to help prevent your situation from getting worse. We will aim to help you through the crisis and then work with you and your family or friends to consider what, if any, longer-term support you need. We know that most people want to live independently in their own homes, living as settled and fulfilled a life as possible.

We will work with you to identify what is important to you and build on your strengths and abilities to ensure you are able to lead the life you want to. We do this in the most proportionate way with you which could be done over the phone. In doing this we will make recommendations about what you can do to reduce or delay your need.

Connecting with your community

In any discussion with you we would look to what is available in your local community, below are just some examples of what these could include. For a wider range of options, we recommend looking at:

Lunch clubs and meal deliveries

There are lots of lunch clubs in Dorset. For many people, these provide a social occasion as well as an important meal. In some cases, transport to the club can be provided. If not, there is a Community Transport Service. Details of lunch clubs, other eating opportunities and transport can be found on our Community Directory.

Meal delivery services can provide hot, frozen or chilled meals delivered to your door on the days you choose, on a temporary or permanent basis. Many meal providers are able to cater for special diets. Companies providing meal delivery services can be found on our Community Directory or by contacting us.

Befriending and Good Neighbour services

Befriending and Good Neighbour services are a great way to combat loneliness and isolation for those who have difficulty getting out and about.

Befrienders are volunteers who keep in regular contact and give you a link with the outside world. A befriender provides conversation and companionship over a long period of time, either through visits or a chat over the phone at a pre-arranged time. This can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and increase motivation and confidence.

Good Neighbour services are also provided by volunteers. As well as providing company and friendship, a Good Neighbour can offer practical help such as collecting a prescription or changing a light bulb.

A list of Befriending and Good Neighbour services can be found on our Community Directory.


The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24hrs a day, every day of the year. Tel: 0800 470 80 90.

Activities and friendship clubs

Some people like to get out and socialise with other people who may be in a similar situation. There is a wide range of social activities where you can meet people, undertake hobbies or learn new skills.

Details of activities can be found on

Assisted bin collection

If you are physically unable to move your bins and there is no one else who can help, we can collect them from a point on your property, such as your back door. This is called an assisted bin collection. 

You can request an assisted collection on behalf of someone else if you have their permission.

Tel: 01305 221040.  Apply online to request help with moving your bins.


Volunteering can be a positive way to spend time and be involved in the local community. Research shows that the benefits of volunteering can include:

  • ability to cope with ill health – volunteering can help you come to terms with an illness and take your mind off things
  • meeting new people – volunteering is a good way to meet people
  • improved self-esteem and sense of purpose – volunteering can raise your self-esteem and give you motivation, which might help you in other areas of your life

Find out about volunteering opportunities in your area by contacting the Volunteer Centre Dorset on Tel: 01305 269214 or Email

Getting out and about

Community transport

If transport is difficult, look for the clubs, societies and groups that provide it. In other cases, one of the many community transport schemes across the county can help. Transport can be provided by a bus or minibus or, in many cases, volunteers’ own cars.

These services need to be booked in advance and will pick you up from home. Some vehicles have been adapted to meet the needs of those with a disability. Charges for the services vary; some make a charge to cover costs, others ask for a voluntary contribution.

Details are on our Community Directory.

Alternatively, you may already be in receipt of mobility-related benefit or have access to a vehicle through a mobility scheme, which should be used to support your needs.

Disabled parking – Blue badges

The Blue Badge scheme allows people with mobility problems (drivers or passengers) to park closer to their destination. It also applies to people registered blind and people with very severe upper limb disabilities who regularly drive a vehicle but cannot turn a steering wheel by hand.

Find more information about Blue Badge.

You can also find information about disabled parking spaces and parking concessions in your local council car parks.

Other car parks such as supermarkets are not managed by the council, and you will have to check to see if any concessions are available for disabled parking.

Disabled toilets

If you want to use a disabled toilet, you will need a RADAR key. RADAR keys allow you to access disabled toilet facilities across the country. You can get a RADAR key for a small fee from some local tourist information offices, or

Benefit advice

You may be entitled to additional financial support from the Department for Work and Pensions to assist you to continue to live independently in your own home. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can assist you to check you are receiving the right financial support.

  • CAB Dorset Adviceline Tel: 0344 411 1444


Does someone support you? They could be helping with household tasks such as cleaning or cooking, administering medication, organising and transporting someone to medical appointments, providing personal care or providing emotional support.

This could be once a day, a couple of times a week or all the time. There are no time limits to being a carer.

If you look after someone you love or care about, you may not consider yourself a carer. Caring is something we do as parents, partners, children, sisters, brothers and friends, often without question or the need for a label.

Carer support Dorset is here to support you by providing advice and guidance and can connect you with others in your local area.

For further information contact them on freephone

Safe and Independent Living (SAIL)

The SAIL scheme is a partnership of respected agencies in Dorset including local councils, police, fire, NHS and voluntary organisations. To help people to remain in their own homes for as long as they wish. It covers concerns such as advice on warmer homes, fire safety, memory loss and benefit entitlement as well as many other topics. All the advice is free to those aged over 55, but some of the services may be chargeable.

For further information and access to the online SAIL form, please contact Age UK Dorchester

Find information about Safe and Independent Living on the Age UK North, South and West Dorset website.

Dorset Accessible Homes Service (DAHS)

DAHS provide advice and support to Dorset residents in respect of home adaptations and housing options to help you to remain in your own home. You are also able to visit an independent living centre in Dorchester, by appointment.

Accessibility statement

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