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Discounts for carers

Every little helps when trying to make your money go further, especially if you are a carer. Discounts can make a big difference, so it is always worth keeping an eye out for opportunities to get some money off.

And you may be surprised how many discounts you are eligible for as a carer. Some organisations want to make sure that you aren’t penalised for looking after someone so provide free entry to attractions when you take the person you care for out and about. Others are keen to recognise the amazing sacrifices you are making, and the financial impact this can sometimes have, by providing you with discounted products, services or fees.

It is worth remembering though that discounts are usually only worth it if you were intending buying the product or service in the first place. It can sometimes be very tempting to buy something just because it seems like a really good deal. But if you don’t particularly need or want it, this is unlikely to end up saving you money.

Below we provide details about some of the deals that are available for carers, including discounts on everyday items and offers on holidays. We also have separate pages for local deals in Newham and Hackney, including information about the carers discount cards available there.

CarerSmart is a scheme put together by Carers Trust to offer benefits such as cash back, deals and discounts on insurance, travel, high street shops and much more. 

Joining is easy and free. Once you’re a member, you can benefit from a wide range of offers including:

  • Cash back on shopping from numerous high street retailers.
  • Best rates from energy providers.
  • Reductions on insurance renewals.
  • Discounts on holidays and travel arrangements.
  • Reduced-price lifestyle activities.
  • Free legal advice services.

For more information or to register visit their website

Discounts for Carers offers carers, paid or unpaid, money saving deals and vouchers for a wide range of shops, holidays and utilities. 

  • Latest deals emailed to your inbox.
  • Free to use and no fees ever.
  • Save hundreds of pounds.
  • Exclusive deals for carers.
  • Over 300 big name brands.

Visit their website for more information. 

The Carer Friendly Card is a photo ID card issued by Forward Carers, an organisation based in the West Midlands. Their card packages cost between £10 and £25 and are valid for two years. They offer both virtual and physical cards, with the virtual-only option being a little cheaper.

The Carer Friendly Card gives you access to a range of discounts and offers that change weekly, both on the high street and online. It is good to bear in mind that their local high street deals are primarily focused on the Birmingham area though.

To get a Carer Friendly Card, you need to prove you are a carer. You can do this either by having a phone call with them or by showing them evidence from your GP, social worker, the DWP or the local council.

To find out more, take a look at the Carer Friendly Card website.

Many cinemas provide free tickets for unpaid carers when you accompany the person you care for. To access this, you usually need to have what is known as a CEA Card. These are issued through a national scheme run by the UK Cinema Association. They cost £6 and last for one year.

Around 90% of cinemas in the UK provide free tickets to carers with one of these cards, but it is worth checking that the cinema you want to go to is one of them. You can find out by putting in your postcode here.

To be eligible for a CEA Card, the person you care for must be aged 8 years old or above and receive one of these benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Attendance Allowance (AA).
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).

They are also eligible if they are registered as Severely Sight Impaired or Sight Impaired. See our article ‘Caring for someone with sight loss’ for further details about how to register the person you care for.

If none of these apply to the person you care for, but they do still have a disability that means they need someone to help them at the cinema, you can contact the CEA Card scheme directly to discuss your particular circumstances with them and see whether they will still issue you with a card.

To find out more, take a look at the CEA Card website.

Although theatres in the UK do not run a national scheme like the cinema CEA Card, many of them still offer free tickets for accompanying carers. The person you care for may also be eligible for a concession rate too.

Contact the theatre you would like to visit directly and ask them whether this is something they offer, and what proof they may require in order for you to access these discounts.

English Heritage provides free entry to all of its sites and events for any carers accompanying the person they care for. They do not ask for any evidence that you are a carer or that the person you are accompanying requires care. The person you care for will still need to either pay for entry or have English Heritage membership for themselves though.

If you give English Heritage a call on 0370 333 1182, they can provide the person you care for with what they call a ‘letter of authority’. This will automatically give the people accompanying them free entry. Alternatively, you can just show up on the day and tell the ticket office staff when you arrive that you are an essential carer.

National Trust offers free entry to any of its sites for up to two carers or essential companions. The person you care for will still need to either pay for entry or have National Trust membership for themselves though.

The National Trust also offers what is known as an Essential Companion card, which can be shown when you arrive at the attraction, making the process of gaining this free entry easier and quicker. This can be particularly good if you intend to visit one or more sites regularly. This card is issued to the person who requires care, and they can use it to bring anyone they like, including bringing different people every time if they wish. To order one of these cards, contact the National Trust by either calling 0344 800 1895, emailing enquiries@nationaltrust.org.uk or writing to National Trust, PO Box 574, Manvers, Rotherham, S63 3FH.

The National Trust also have a very thorough Access Guide, which can help if you or the person you care for have a disability. This guide tells you which of their sites have accessible toilets and changing facilities, lifts, audio support and access to wheelchairs, electric mobility vehicles and even mountain trikes. To find out more, you can take a look at the guide here.

The majority of Gardens, Partner Gardens and Flower Shows run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) offer either free or discounted entry to accompanying carers. This includes the RHS Chelsea Flower Show which offers free entry for a carer when bringing along the person they care for.

However, some RHS sites and events do not offer any discount at all, meaning you will need to pay the full entry fee, so it is worth checking the location you are interested in in advance.

They provide a list of their attractions and the carer discounts they do or do not offer, which can be found here.

All of the theme parks run by the Merlin group, which include Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and LEGOLAND® Windsor, allow you to claim one free carer ticket if you go with someone with a disability. In order to receive this carer ticket, you must be aged 14 or over and will need to show evidence and photo ID at the ticket kiosk, even if you book the tickets online. Take a look at the website of the particular attraction you wish to visit for a list of evidence they will accept, and for more specific information about accessibility including things like disabled parking.

If the person you care for would like to visit Merlin attractions regularly, they may want to purchase a Merlin Annual Pass. If so, then they can also claim one free carer pass at the same time. The complimentary pass is in the name of the Passholder with a disability so it can be used by any carer who they want to accompany them, including different ones on each visit if they wish. It can only be used when the named Passholder is present. To claim the free pass, they need to buy a full price Merlin Annual Pass, and then complete an online form and attach the relevant evidence. Merlin will then provide a code allowing them to purchase a complimentary pass online.

Some other theme parks only offer discounted entry for carers, rather than free tickets. Drayton Manor, for instance, offer a discounted rate for people with disabilities and their carers, saving you both a percentage of the ticket price.

Many zoos, aquariums and safari parks allow free entry for carers when you accompany the person you care for. We cover the policies at some of the most popular attractions below, but it is worth taking a look at the website of the particular one you want to visit to see what they offer.

Both ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo offer free entry for an accompanying carer, as well as a concessionary rate for people with disabilities. You do not need to book a ticket for yourself as a carer, you will just be granted entry on the door.

Chester Zoo also allow one free carer’s ticket for visitors with a disability, when they pay the full entrance fee. The Zoo does require you to bring some proof of entitlement with you to get this though. This could be a Blue Badge or a letter from the DWP explaining the person you care for’s entitlement to disability benefits.

Edinburgh Zoo also offer free admission for one carer accompanying someone who needs assistance, when that person pays the full admission price. Similarly, they ask you to bring proof of entitlement with you, and to show it when you arrive at the Zoo.

All of the SEA LIFE centres, including the SEA LIFE London Aquarium and the National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham, offer one free carer ticket if you go with someone with a disability. You must be aged 14 or over to receive this free ticket, and you will also need to bring some evidence and photo ID, which you can show at the ticket kiosk. If you book the tickets online, then you will still need to bring the evidence with you to the ticket kiosk on the day. The SEA LIFE attractions are all run by Merlin, so the person you care for may be interested in purchasing a Merlin Annual Pass if you are likely to be a regular visitor. See our ‘Theme parks’ section above to find out more about accessing a complimentary carer’s pass.

If you want to accompany the person you care for to a live sporting event, you may be able to claim a free or discounted ticket as their carer. Each sports team, venue, and event has their own rules and policies about this though, and there can be considerable differences between them.

For example, many football clubs, including Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday, offer discounted tickets for disabled fans as well as a completely free ticket for their accompanying carer. Some clubs, including Coventry City and Charlton Athletic, do not provide discounts for those people with a disability, but do still provide one free ticket for a carer to support them. Others do things a little differently. Arsenal, for instance, have what they call their Purple Membership scheme for disabled fans, where they can pay an annual fee to access half-price match tickets for themselves and free tickets for their accompanying Personal Assistant, alongside other membership benefits.

These differences are reflected across a range of other sporting events too. For instance, the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games are offering what they call ‘companion tickets’ which are free for carers and can be booked online. In contrast, the guidance given by Wimbledon in relation to their 2021 Championships was to purchase two full-price tickets – one for the person you care for and one for yourself as their carer – and then contact them to discuss it. 

Since there are such big differences, it is a good idea to take a look at the specific event, club or venue you are interested in to find out what their particular policy is. You can usually find this information on their website, but you could also call or email them directly to ask.

If it is a football match you are particularly interested in attending, check out the organisation Level Playing Field, a charity supporting disabled football fans. Their website includes the contact details for the best person at each football club to get in touch with for any accessibility queries. They also list lots of other accessibility information about different clubs and stadiums that you may find helpful too.

There are also a wide range of other attractions where you can get free entry as a carer when you are accompanying the person you care for. The rules for each of these will differ slightly depending on the attraction, so you should check what you might need to bring to prove you are a carer before you go.

You can usually find the information about whether an attraction offers free entry for carers and how you can claim it on the attraction’s website. If their website doesn’t mention anything about this, it can be worth giving them a call and asking. They may have a scheme that they don’t mention online, or they might consider offering you a discount anyway if you ask them.

Some attractions may also offer concession rates for those people with a disability, on certain income-related benefits or over or under a particular age, so it is worth bearing this in mind too, for both you and the person you care for.

Spotted another discount?

If you have seen or offer a discount for carers we haven’t featured yet, please tell us about it below. We will add it to this list so that other carers are able to find out about too.
Find you which benefits you are entitled to as a carer
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