An evaluation was conducted of voluntary sector family support workers (FSWs) working with families of schizophrenia sufferers. FSWs completed a diary schedule and interviews were conducted with 15 co-professionals from the FSWs' multi-disciplinary teams and 62 carers from FSWs' caseloads. Carers' problems were assessed using the burden component of the Social and Behavioural Assessment Schedule and the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile. Carers were asked about the type of support received and their satisfaction. The findings revealed the considerable pressures of caring and highlighted the value perceived by both carers and coprofessionals of the FSW as a counselling, listening, information and advocacy resource. The diary study revealed that FSWs spend 40% of their time providing emotional and/or practical support. The impact of this was suggested by the superior ratings of quality of life and lower burden scores among carers with whom the FSW had longer-term involvement.