The social care system in the UK is at breaking point. Although an ageing population and increased life expectancy for the disabled mean there is higher demand for care services, spending on adult social care services has fallen dramatically.
Social care workers are underpaid and over stretched with low staffing levels, a high vacancy and high turnover of staff the norm. Low pay and lack of a good career structure contribute to a bleak picture for caring as a profession.
These structural issues have a direct impact on the lives of those in need of care, with inconsistent, poor quality care being a frequent experience.
Against this backdrop a slew of new ideas are emerging to try to reduce the cost of care, create more equality of provision, improve care outcomes. Through our ShareLab programme Nesta has been working with one of the most promising for the last year. Equal Care Co-op is the UK’s first platform-based social care and support co-operative, operating in the Calder Valley.
The short film above explains what it is that makes them so special.
We’re releasing it today in support of the launch of Equal Care Co-op’s pioneering community share issue to raise capital to fund the development and support of two 'Support Circles' - one in Hebden Bridge and the other in Blackshaw Head. Each 'Support Circle' will train new leaders and carers to deliver support to people in need of care in each area.
A community share issue is in itself an innovative form of funding, available to Equal Care as a co-operative. Our report ‘Platform Co-ops: Solving the Capital Conundrum’, published earlier this year with Cooperatives UK, explains more about platform co-operatives and the financing challenges they face.
Equal Care Co-op are leading the way not just in their delivery model but in the way they are finding financing. For all those interested in bold ideas that make lives better Equal Care are ones to watch - and support!