It is possible to make a direct approach to many of the organisations listed on this website. They may be able to offer a service, or at least information. However, generally speaking it is important to ensure that an individual/family in need gets a proper assessment first.
For most categories of people in need, whether adults or children, the central route of assessment is through the Social Services Department of the local authority (Council), and these departments where appropriate work very closely together with the NHS. Increasingly, Social Services and the NHS aim to work as one unified team. Between them, they employ a vast range of professionals who have key responsibilities under the law to identify the needs of different types of people requiring help and support. These groups include: frail older people, children at risk, individuals with mental health problems, the homeless, people with disabilities, those who have HIV, alcohol, or drug dependency problems. Local authorities' responsibilities also include Housing Departments that find accommodation for homeless people and assess people's entitlement to a range of specialist sheltered accommodation for individuals with "special needs".
Importantly, there are certain situations in which it is essential to approach the local authority or an individual's doctor (GP) due to particularly urgent issues which involve a dimension of risk. The most important of these relate to children at risk of harm such as neglect or abuse, vulnerable elderly people and people with acute mental health problems who may pose a risk to themselves or others.
Finally, if what is being looked for is financial support in the shape of benefits or allowances, then the most important role is played by Jobcentre Plus - the government agency dealing with benefits. They are responsible for delivering support and advice to people.
Getting Help: providers of help, care and information
Once an assessment has been carried out, the professional in question (often termed a "care manager" rather than a social worker) should secure the best types of care and support to meet the identified needs of the individual. If you are looking after or otherwise supporting a person in this situation- especially if you are a partner or relative - you can make a significant contribution by highlighting the importance of obtaining specialist Jewish support and care services.
Clearly, GPs can play a key role in helping people to access numerous services. If you are looking for help on your own behalf, then you should see what your GP can do; if you are trying to assist someone else, find out who is their GP. If someone isn't registered with a GP, or you need to find out more about GP services, contact the local NHS.
Support services are provided by a vast range of voluntary organisations. Where possible this website lists Jewish organisations in South London. Where these don't exist it lists Jewish organisations covering all of London. If there is no Jewish organisation then it lists a non-Jewish organisation which may be able to help.
There are some services which can be provided without any preceding assessment. However, should an assessment be required, the organisation should be able to explain precisely how to go about obtaining it.
The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
The Disabled Facilities Grant is a government funded grant awarded to eligible disabled individuals with mobility difficulties who need to make adaptations to their homes. It will not affect any benefits that you may already get. The grant is available for a range of eligible home improvements such as ramps, stairlifts, walk in baths, door widening and easier to use heating and lighting controls.
Further information about DFG and other sources of financial aid can be found here or search the Services Directory.
Help for Carers
If you look after someone who couldn't manage on their own without your help, you are a carer. You may have suddenly become a carer after a loved one became ill or had an accident. Or you may have gradually found yourself fulfilling the role of carer as your elderly parents or partner have needed more support as they get older.
Further information on benefits, grants and where carers can find support here
or search the Services Directory.