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Equal Care Co-op

Who benefits

By establishing and facilitating circles of support through their platform co-operative, Equal Care Co-op brings benefits to everyone involved in the relationship between givers and receivers of support. People on both sides of the care and support relationship are connected and empowered to be self-managing and an abundance of local care and support is created.

The Care system

Below are experiences from the front line in care support, which are sadly all too common. It’s not because care and support workers aren’t good at their jobs, but that the system we have in this country to allocate workers, pay them and manage them isn’t working. These are structural failings of a system not set up as if the lives of people needing care matters. It’s set up to make do, to get by and be a sticking plaster when what’s needed is a completely different approach. Care and support workers should be paid a good wage for caring, because people with professional skills deserve decent pay for vital work.

If the system gave them the opportunity to build lasting relationships with the people they support (instead of a constant parade of new faces), they will give the kind of care they have been trained to give and want to give. People receiving support have the right to choose and direct who comes into their lives and gives them the help to live as full a life as possible.

Due to the growing popularity of personal budgets and direct payments from local authorities, people getting support have the chance to choose and control more than they’ve ever done before, but unless there is a system to help them choose the right people, working under the right conditions, it won’t make anything like the changes that are needed.

Equal Care Co-op want to use technology to create a new kind of social care organisation, never before seen in the UK. They are deliberately starting small, in West Yorkshire, but have big ambitions. The platform they are building will help people needing care and support and their families to find, connect with, book and pay for care workers. It won’t matter whether they’re getting their support paid for by the local authority, they’re paying for it themselves, or they’ve been referred as part of a block or spot contract.

Care receivers

Nadia has had a team of PAs since she was 8. She’s living with cerebral palsy and uses an electric wheelchair to get around and a Dynovox to communicate.

Family Carers

Jill is in her eighties and spent nearly ten years managing the care for her husband before he died. They spent all their savings and she now has nothing left for her own care. This was her experience of the care system.

Professional Carers

Doug is an experienced care and support worker.

Supporter carers

Angie and her husband Andrew have been managing the care for Andrew’s mum for several years.

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