an illustration of a man and his son flying a kite on the beach
an illustration of a man and his son flying a kite on the beach

Our initiative is designed to complement the remarkable work undertaken by care sector organisations and enhance the service that they offer by providing a tangible, scalable solution to those in need of a break. We currently have 40 referral partners throughout the UK with a further 40 due to join us in early 2019.

How it works


All you need to do is submit details of the carers via our online portal and confirm that they meet the eligibility criteria (see below). Once we have validated the referral we invite the carer to visit our website and choose a short break (see Take a Break page). In the near future carers will be able to apply for breaks directly by verifying their identity and full-time carer status via a secure online pathway.


To qualify for a break a carer must be:

  • Aged 21 or over
  • A full-time unpaid carer (35+ hours per week)
  • Able to arrange interim care
  • Able to pay for extras (admin fee, travel, food etc.)

Impact Evaluation

Following each break we gather feedback to assess the effect of the break on the carer’s wellbeing. The data also enables us to evaluate the broader societal impact and the value we are creating for the care sector as a whole. Impact summaries are given to our referral partners at regular intervals.


Sustainable Social Care Model

By leveraging excess capacity from the hospitality sector, Carefree enables large numbers of carers to take breaks without the burden of cost falling to the public sector.

Supporting the Carers Action Plan (2018‑2020)

Access to short breaks increases the ability of carers to maintain their caring role and improves the quality of care that they provide. It also helps them to feel valued and supported by the rest of society.

Digital Inclusion / Social Isolation

Right now technology enables us to offer an unprecedented opportunity for respite, empowering carers to make independent choices. In the future it will help us to identify carers beyond the reach of third sector organisations, enable them to connect with one another and feel part of the wider community.

See Carefree in action

If you would like to become a referral partner, please send an email to and we will be delighted to discuss your request. In order to maintain quality assurance and ensure GDPR compliance we require our partners to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which includes a data sharing agreement. See the FAQ for more details.

Ruth McLeod

This is not just about carers. It’s about our whole society and our community all giving something back.

Ruth McLeod
Carer Support Team Leader

Anita Doshi

Taking time out helps carers improve their wellbeing and feel valued not only as a carer but as a person. A big thank you to Carefree.

Anita Doshi
Carers Service Manager / Carers Network

Ian Boyle

Carers are the pillars of our society and deserve a break just like everybody else. Thanks to Carefree we can give carers in Dundee some much-needed time to themselves.

Ian Boyle
Short Breaks Service Coordinator / Dundee Carers Centre

Keith Sinclair

Carefree is a fantastic initiative. Being able to take a break is vital if carers are to maintain their own health, wellbeing and resilience.

Keith Sinclair
Chief Executive / Carers Support Centre

Sebastian Fischer

Carefree is breaking new ground and building important bridges to the hospitality industry so carers can benefit from the breaks that most of us take for granted.

Sebastian Fischer
Chief Executive / VOCAL

Angus Carers Centre
Blackpool Carers Centre
Blackburn Carers Service
Dundee carers Centre
Carers Hub
carers partnership wandsworth
Carers Matter Norfolk
Connecting Carers
Hillingdon carers
Dundee carers Centre
parent to parent
Northamptonshire carers