Welcome to Gateshead Carers Association Members Online Community

What is Gateshead Carers Association Members Online Community?

It is a supportive online community of adult unpaid carers who are registered members of Gateshead Carers Association and understand the ups and downs of caring. Our community is here for you to connect with other carers, support each other and signpost each other to relevant information, advice and support. It is a safe place to share and to be part of the caring community of unpaid carers in Gateshead. You will also be able to take part in the collective conversations that will help to shape our services and offerings for unpaid carers for today and well into the future.

Our community is open to all carers over the age of 18 and is moderated by Gateshead Carers Association staff and volunteers.

To keep our online community a welcoming, supportive and safe place for unpaid carers and supporters who share our ethos and aims, we ask that all members follow the guidelines below. 

Please remember that every time you use the community you are agreeing to our Membership Community Guidelines, Membership Terms and Conditions and Privacy and Cookies Policy. You should therefore make sure that you have a good understanding of these documents.


In summary, we ask everyone to:

  • Be respectful
  • Be supportive
  • Be sensitive to how others may be feeling
  • Use the forum primarily to give and receive support
  • Help to make the forum easy to use for other members

  • Be respectful

    We want our online community to be welcoming and supportive and also a place where people can express themselves freely about their caring situations. We understand people will have different opinions, but please respect other people's right to disagree with you.  Please consider the tone of your posts - giving strong, judgmental opinions about another person's personal circumstances and choices can be upsetting to that individual and may put them off posting on the forum, especially if the person posting is new to the forum and has not been involved in an online community before. Try to base replies on the information given, rather than make assumptions about a person's circumstances. Please avoid excessive SHOUTING. This involves using lots of CAPITAL LETTERS in posts.2. Be supportive

    Gateshead Carers Association is here to provide information, advice and support to all adult unpaid carers, whatever their caring situation, age, gender, beliefs and background. We also believe that where possible, caring should be a choice. While many people decide to take on the role of looking after a loved one, we respect that this choice may not be the right one for others.  Please be supportive of all carers, whatever their caring situation and whatever stage they are on their caring journey.

    3. Be sensitive to how others may be feeling

    Remember that people using our online community may be going through a particularly challenging or difficult time. Please be sensitive to the fact that people may be feeling vulnerable, and consider how your message may be perceived by someone going through a difficult situation. If we think that a comment could be insensitive we may decide to remove it to protect people using the forum.

    Occasionally you may come across another member of our online community who you are particularly concerned about. If you think a member of our online community, or someone they are looking after, is at risk of self-harm or suicide, please contact our staff team immediately at [email protected]  or send a private message to an individual member of staff or volunteer moderator. It would also be helpful if you could encourage the person involved to contact Samaritans by phone at 116 123 or by email at [email protected] Calls to the Samaritans are free from any phone and at any time.

    4. Use the forum primarily to give and receive support

    Our online community is here for you to connect with other carers, support each other and signpost each other to relevant information, advice and support. Staff members will occasionally post in the forum to ask if you would like to get involved in other aspects of our work (e.g. volunteering or telling your caring story to the media) and there will also be opportunities to ask questions of the Chief Executive, Trustees and other staff.

    5. Help to make our online community easy to use for other members

    Stick to the topic: Please try and keep to the thread's original intention. We do not want to stifle the creative flow of the conversation but if a new topic evolves it is good practice to start again in a new thread. Moderators and staff may lock topics that go off thread or move topics into new areas.

    Posting images: Users are welcome to post images on the forum provided that: photos of anyone under 18 have the parent’s consent; photos of anyone over 18 have that person's consent; no photos are posted which are likely to cause offence or bring Gateshead Carers Association into disrepute. Moderators and staff may remove any photos that they have concerns about.

    Private Messages: The content of private messages should remain private and should not be posted on the forum. Our Membership Community Guidelines also apply to private messages and if you receive a private message that does not follow the guidelines please report it to a moderator or email the staff team at [email protected]  If you have an issue with another member’s post that you do not want to discuss in public on the forum, please contact a moderator or the staff team rather than the writer of the post.

    Links to/from other websites: You are welcome to post links (URLs) to other websites on the forum if you think this would be helpful to other carers and supporters. When doing this please include a short summary and a link to the relevant web page. Please do not cut and paste large sections of content from other websites onto the forum. The posting of a URL on the forum does not imply any endorsement and Gateshead Carers Association may remove URL's from posts if we feel they are not appropriate to the overall purpose and mission of the community.

    Commercial advertising or plugging of products, websites etc. is not allowed on the forum and such posts will be removed.

    Members are welcome to post links from other websites back to this forum. However, cutting and pasting large chunks of content from the Gateshead Carers Association onto other sites is not allowed, as it removes comments from their context and is a breach of copyright.

    Duplicate posts: Please avoid making duplicate posts, moderators will remove these.

    Research and consultations: Because our community is primarily here to facilitate peer support, we do not allow third parties to post links to research or surveys. However, occasionally Gateshead Carers Association may start a thread in relation to research we are conducting by ourselves or in partnership with another organisation.

How do we moderate our Members Online Community?

Gateshead Carers Association’s online community is moderated by key staff members and a small team of volunteer moderators. We monitor all posts made on the forum and recognise that most interactions are between carers and supporters who are giving and receiving valuable support. We cannot guarantee that one of us will be on the forum at all times, especially out of working hours i.e. at weekends and at night, but we will respond to any posts or private messages addressed to us as quickly as we can.  Our volunteer moderators will be looking out for any posts which do not follow the forum guidelines and will remove them if necessary. They will inform the staff team if they see any posts which:

• contain insulting personal remarks, are offensive, abusive or libellous or act in a way to cause harassment
• make comments that misrepresent or damage the reputation of Gateshead Carers Association, whether on the Gateshead Carers Association forum or on any other public forum or site
• are not constructive to the overall purpose and mission of Gateshead Carers Association

Volunteer moderators will also alert the staff team if they are concerned about a forum user, especially if they think someone is at risk of harm. In such cases the staff team will follow Gateshead Carers Association’s Safeguarding Procedure.

What happens when people don’t follow the guidelines?

When posting in the community please be sensitive to the fact that you are communicating with real people who may be dealing with very challenging real-life situations. We recognise that carers and supporters will be experiencing a range of emotions, including anger, and that you may sometimes need to ‘let off steam’. However, please consider how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by others, and be aware that any comments that are offensive, inappropriate or disruptive will be removed.

When a member does not follow our community guidelines, we may have to suspend their account. If someone repeatedly breaks our guidelines, we may implement a longer suspension or, as a last resort, a lifetime ban.

Posts discussing moderator actions taken by volunteer moderators or by Gateshead Carers Association staff are not allowed, will be removed without prior notice and may result in further moderator action. Members who wish to take issue with any decision made should send an email to [email protected].
More details can be found under ‘Challenging a suspension or ban’.

What to do if you find offensive, inappropriate or disruptive comments

Please contact us at [email protected] and we will take appropriate action as soon as we can.

Challenging a suspension or ban

Any members who are unhappy with a moderation decision should contact [email protected] and a member of our staff team will respond. If the issue cannot be resolved with our staff team, members should follow Gateshead Carers Association’s Complaints Procedure.

Banned members attempting to re-register under new names/email addresses will have their accounts deleted.

Compliments and Complaints

We welcome all feedback about the forum and this should be sent by email to [email protected]. Feedback about moderation of our Members Online Community should also be sent to this email address and not posted on the forum.

We also welcome all feedback about Gateshead Carers Association and this should follow our Compliments and Complaints Procedure which can be found listed at the bottom of our website www.gatesheadcarers.com  Our online community should not be used as a channel for complaints about Gateshead Carers Association or its staff, trustees and volunteers. Any complaints that are posted in the open area of the forum will be removed and we will send a private message to the person concerned to remind them of the correct procedure.

Keeping safe

For your safety and security you should not post your personal address, email, phone number on the forum. You should also not post any identifiable information about the person you are looking after. 

The information that you post on the forum can only be viewed by other members and staff as this is a secure and private area.

Reviewing our Community Guidelines

These guidelines have been approved by Gateshead Carers Association’s Board of Trustees and will be reviewed annually in consultation with members.

Unless stated otherwise, views expressed in this community are purely the views of the members and as such don't constitute professional recommendations or advice or the opinions of Gateshead Carers Association. Members can seek information and advice by contacting Gateshead Carers Association 0191 4900121 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm) or by email to [email protected]