Frequently asked questions

What are GATs?

GATs are credits of hours that are banked when you give care to another. 1 hour of care/support = 1 GAT.

If you give 5 hours a week of befriending care to Mrs Jones, your account will be credited with 5 GATs for that week.

Equally, when receiving care, you ‘spend’ your GATs in the same way. 1 GAT you have saved in your account will allow you 1 hour of care.

GATs are not monetary; they are simply a record of hours of care exchanged between Partners. GATs cannot be sold and cannot be used for anything else. This allows us to be absolutely sure that no one will ‘play the system’.

Who can be a Partner?

‘Partner(s)’ is the term for people signed up to the G&TC scheme. Anyone who gives or receives care under the scheme is called a Partner.

You can become a CareGiver Partner if you are over the age of 18.

You can become a CareReceiver Partner if you are over the age of 60.

All Partners will be subject to checks including DBS vetting, before accessing the scheme.

Do I have to be registered with a charity to sign up?


The scheme is operating through existing associated charities. All Partners must register with an associate charity to access the scheme.

If you are interested in the G&TC scheme, contact us to find out which charities you can access it through.

Who decides who I will care for?

You will either be an existing and already caring for a loved one, or be new to the scheme and offering befriending support to a stranger.

The Locality Manager will match you with a local CareReceiver based on the skills you can offer and your availability, the needs of the CareReceiver and how close you are to each other in the community.

How do I meet the Partner I get matched with?

The G&TC Locality Manager will share your phone numbers with each other and you can speak on the phone to arrange your first meeting. You can do this at the Care Receiver’s home, or meet in a public place first. This is entirely up to you.

How old do I have to be to join the G&TC scheme?

Anyone over the age of 18 can join G&TC as a Partner and start giving care to another.

Anyone over the age of 60 can join G&TC as a Partner and start giving and receiving care under the scheme.

At what age can I access my GATs?

Partners can begin ‘spending’ their GATs when they reach age 60.

I enjoy volunteering for free. Why would I want to get something for myself out of it?

There is absolutely no obligation or pressure for volunteers to sign up to the G&TC scheme if they feel it goes against their values and beliefs about volunteering. However, the whole point of G&TC is to address the looming crisis of an increasing elderly population and a lack of resources or people to care for them. We will all age sooner or later and become frail and vulnerable, needing the support of others. It is unclear what people’s money pensions will afford them when the time comes. We therefore, consider that being part of the G&TC scheme is an act of self-responsibility; making some provisions for yourself now will reduce the likelihood of a crisis in your own care for the future.

If you feel that you wish to offer befriending care under the G&TC scheme but do not wish to benefit from the care pension, you can donate the hours to someone in your community who may need them. In this way, your hours of volunteering will be twice as good.

The G&TC scheme may not be for you and if so, we encourage you to continue in your volunteering as you feel is right for you.

What care is available for older adults?

In Stage 1 of this project we are calling on those who carry out befriending activities for the elderly and Family carers to join the scheme. Therefore, older adults can access befriending support from the scheme. Befriending care involves a variety of activities such as lifts to appointments or to get shopping, company, cleaning, gardening, dog walking etc. in addition, many charities offer activity classes, lunch clubs or workshops. These may also be included in the scheme.


Family carers perform a whole range of support duties from bathing, lifting, washing, giving medicines, feeding, cooking etc, This is considered to be ‘personal care’. Older adults who already have a loved one caring for them, will continue to receive the same level of personal care under the scheme. They will however, be enabling their loved one to make some provision for their future by savings some hours.

How do I get involved?

If you care for a loved one who also wishes to join the scheme and you both wish to sign up, you must register with one of our associate charities and then you can sign up to G&TC.

Carers provide significant hours of care for their loved ones, often 24-hour care. The G&TC scheme will cap family care hours at 5 hours per day. You will agree with the loved one you care for, how many hours you will bank each week.

What is the admin fee and why?

The admin fee is £1 and is applied to every GAT hour when it is received.

The admin fee is needed to cover the back office operations of running this secure database system. Essentially it covers the cost of book-keeping for the hours exchanged, IT systems to maintain the data and make it available to you online, and to employ a small number of G&TC staff to run the scheme. The admin fee also covers the cost of processing direct debit payments. We hope that in the future the collected admin fee will generate a profit, which will be giving back to our associate charities. We are therefore able to contribute financially to charities working with us.

The admin fee is not a commercial payment for care or support. It is simply a fee to ensure the administration for recording GATs is done correctly and in a way that can be sustained in the future.

G&TC aim to become a secure and permanent long-term scheme, embedded into society. To ensure that the scheme is not threatened by financial influences, we have developed this ‘circular economy’ solution such that we do not rely on grants, government or business funding or charity funds. In this way, the GAT hours that Partners save cannot be devalued or defrauded in any way, and the project will not be vulnerable to a loss of funding in the future. Having Partners paying the admin fees, keeps the funding for the scheme within the organisation and gives the scheme much more security into the future.

Who pays the admin fee?

We have left this decision up to local charities that associate with us. In some areas, the admin fee will be split 50/50 between Partners, with the CareReceiver and CareGiver each paying 50p per hour. In other areas, charities have adopted the method of CareReceiver paying the £1 fee. In our first locality, the CareReceiver is paying the £1 per GAT/hour.

What if I am not happy with the match?

It is possible that Partners may not get well with the person they are matched with. In that case either Partners can contact the Locality Manager who will re-match Partners with someone new.

What if I have a complaint about a Partner?

We encourage you to discuss with the partner allocated to you in a polite and constructive manner how would you like your rapport to be, the befriending care to be occurring. If the CareGiver gets consistently late to you, you may wish to inform the Locality manager of such problems. However, if you simply wish to have a change of Partner you can liaise with the Locality Manager who will re-match you again.

If there is a serious issue about your safety or a matter that would concern the police has taken place, you must notify the police and social services. They are the appropriate authority to deal with such matters. If you advise us of any such matters, we will also have a duty to inform the relevant authority. This is simply to ensure the wellbeing and safety of vulnerable adults and indeed of anyone who is part of the scheme, including CareGivers.

Can I join the GATC scheme for one-off activities?

You can, but the aim of the scheme is to encourage regular support for older adults and built relationships within the community. Therefore, we ask for longer-term commitment to create stable arrangements. Even an arrangement of giving one hour a week would be helpful. Familiarity is comforting to elderly people and builds new friendships and connections with others. This is the aim of the scheme, to create better relationships and improved quality of care for older people.

Can I give my GATs to others?

Yes, in three ways.

1 – You can gift your GATs to a relative.
2 – You can leave your GATs in your will to a relative or loved one.
3 – You can donate your GATs to GATC for their emergency fund, or leave them to G&TC-CIC in your will.

Do I have to be DBS checked?

Yes, for befriending care. We will need evidence that you have an up-to-date DBS check. You will have one of these when registering with a charity and if this is not possible we ask that you bring one yourself when joining G&TC. We ask that Partner CareGivers sign up to the DBS ‘Update Service’, which allows G&TC to conduct regular checks that no further information of concern has come to light. This is simply to protect you and other Partners. For Family carers, a DBS will not be necessary unless the family partners will require it to be in place.

Do I have to undergo any training?

Yes, to be a CareGiver.

Under the Care Act 2014, the Care and Support Statutory Guidance stipulates that all staff and volunteers involved in supporting vulnerable adults must complete Safeguarding Adults training. This will be organised by G&TC in your area with the Local Authority.

If you are a Family Carer you would be welcome to attend the training too, but this will not be compulsory for you.

Can I offer support to others when I am also elderly?

Yes. Older adults may experience a decline in health and physical ability but they may still have a wealth of experience and knowledge that is valuable to the community. We envisage that some people over 60 may be able to earn more GATs by doing some light duties for other Partners, or by offering mentoring advice to younger people.

Do I have to sign paperwork?

Yes. There will be some fairly straightforward paperwork to be signed when you register with G&TC as a Partner, however only CareReceivers will need to provide bank details so that the Direct Debit mandate can be setup, and this will be posted to your bank.

How will my confidential information be stored and kept safe?

G&TC will record and store certain necessary personal information about all partners in order to run the scheme.

G&TC are committed to handling personal information appropriately and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Due to the nature of the scheme being a long-term personal care savings account, we will retain individuals’ details for the duration of their lives so that they may access the service as intended, or until any request from an individual who wishes to cancel their registration altogether. For more information, you will receive a booklet including terms and conditions when you join.

If you would like to know more about Give&TakeCare please make contact.