Local Authorities

Local Authorities
We are currently working with Oxfordshire County Council and Bradford Council to support care workers needing financial support during the current cost of living crisis. These crisis grants are ring fenced to the authority area, with local authorities agreeing what can be funded, depending on local need including payment towards fuel costs, daily living expenses, rent arrears etc. The grants are administered by an experienced Grants team and there is a 10% administration cost included in the contract price.

Read our Beneficiary Statements here

The Care Workers’ Charity: Proposal for Local Authorities

During the worst of the pandemic, care workers were like a boat in a storm — struggling to stay afloat and protect its scared and vulnerable passengers. Care workers emerged burned out, their boat battered. Now, the Cost of Living Crisis has emerged like rocks threatening to tear holes and sink the ship.

Multiple studies show that care workers possess immense skills and that the populations requiring complex care are quickly increasing; however, issues like income instability, work-caused poor mental health, and now the Cost of Living Crisis are forcing care workers to weigh whether they can afford to remain in the sector they love.

The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) was founded to support one of the UK’s largest workforces, the nearly 2 million strong social care workforce, to enhance its wellbeing and act as a safety net. CWC seeks to cultivate a fairly-valued workforce that has the experience and resources to thrive and deliver better life and health outcomes for the UK’s growing populations receiving social care. CWC delivers award-winning activities to address the symptoms and the causes of care workers’ challenging situations. We deliver financial grants, mental health support and workforce advocacy to strengthen the care worker community and increase desperately needed recruitment and retention for the sector. Over the past two years, CWC has provided over £3.3 million in in grants and supported over 5,100 care workers and influenced national workforce policy, guidance and research.

We believe that more supported care workers make for more supportive care workers. CWC is best suited to deliver this work as we are led and staffed by former care workers and are nationally and locally well- connected. We have the efficient infrastructure to assess an individual’s needs, quickly deliver appropriate interventions, monitor impact, and translate the workforce’s experiences into policy recommendations for government and sector leadership. We have grand ambitions to improve the social care workforce’s sustainability and wellbeing – and we need your help.

CWC’s Work with Local Councils

CWC aims to increase its partnerships with local councils to support local care worker communities and together we can make a significant impact on your local care workers. We need your help to ensure that care workers in your area have the support system they need to stabilise their finances and health so they may continue focusing on providing high quality care. Your support can be the difference between a care worker making it through the month or falling into emotional and/or financial hardship.

We are currently engaged with Oxfordshire and Bradford Councils to provide care workers in need and encourage the workforce to utilise the Blue Light Card. In 2020-2021, the CWC successfully partnered with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to deliver COVID-19 Emergency grants to care workers within the Solihull post code area. Together, we awarded a total of £126,822 to 202 care workers. These grants supported care workers who were isolating, shielding, or suffering with Covid related costs such a car repairs, rent arrears or the purchasing of white goods.

As proven with our Solihull Council partnership, we can securely manage and quickly disburse large funds restricted to your area. CWC can accommodate various restrictions that may be required by Build Back Better Services Grant, Better Care Fund, and bespoke grant funds. We can provide detailed reporting per your requirements to include how funds are spent and impact data, as well as any emerging trends and considerations to make the grant as accessible as possible. We have successfully managed large grants from funders like Royal College of Nursing, Wolfson Foundation and many more – and we would be honoured to focus specific support in your local authority area.

Grantee from Solihull

“… receiving the grant was fantastic, and to be honest I’m not sure if I’d still be working in care if it wasn’t for that… The grant made such a difference and the pressure it took off the family was huge, so local authorities should do what they can. And to care workers, I’d say: don’t ever be afraid to call out for help.”

Why Care Workers Need Help

As a society, we ask care workers to do so much with so little. Only 27% of care workers earn the Real Living Wage (Skills for Care, 2021) and those in poverty are more likely to have poor physical and mental health, and low life and health satisfaction (House of Commons Library). Despite the increase in demand and medically-complex caseloads, workforce pay has slipped to one of the lowest in the UK economy (FE News, 2021), leaving a tenth of the workforce in receipt of in-work benefits (GMB Report, 2021).

Care workers sacrificed so much during the pandemic — with Skills for Care estimating 922 lost their lives between the start of the pandemic and May 2021. Being on the frontline, working with vulnerable populations with literally life and death accountability, and undercut by insufficient support took an immense toll on the workforce — physically and emotionally.

Despite their immense impact on society, care workers continue to find themselves struggling to make ends meet. As of April 2022, the average UK household needs nearly £1000 extra per year just to afford the same things they did in 2019 (BBC, March 2022), which is simply not possible when you are a care worker earning £16,000 a year. As of April 2022, care workers pay an annual average of £121 to fund their jobs thanks to the Health and Social Care Levy and may lose up £1,035 once combined with changes in Universal Credit and increased living costs (Policy in Practice, 2021).

The Resolution Foundation warned that by autumn, “the poorest tenth of households spending twice as much of their budget on food and fuel as the richest, they are likely to be hardest hit, experiencing an inflation rate of perhaps 10%.” The Joseph Rowntree Foundation predicted that individuals will turn to rationing food to manage budgets and the Cost of Living Crisis has made this even more likely. Average UK energy bills may hit £3,000 a year (The Guardian, 2022) and food prices rose 4.5% from January 2021-22 (Office for National Statistics) — forcing care workers to choose between heating their homes or feeding their children. This is also a health crisis as 26% of families and 49% of households earning less than £30,000 a year are buying fewer fresh vegetables because of the increase in grocery prices (The Food Foundation, April 2022). Furthermore, those who work in social care have been found to be most financially insecure more likely to be “trapped in insecure housing” as a result (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, 2021).

CWC Programmes

CWC takes a holistic approach to improving care workers’ wellbeing. Our grassroots and top-down strategy addresses the symptoms and causes of the workforces common struggles. We frequently review, adjust and expand our services to meet care workers’ changing needs. In 2021, 39% of our Crisis grants were for daily living expenses. Since 2020, we have seen a 48% increase in the number of applications we receive requesting help with the prevention of eviction. Support for rent arrears and the prevention of eviction is now one of the most common applications we receive. Care workers are at some of the greatest risk of extreme hardship with largely nowhere to turn – except to The Care Workers’ Charity.

Covid-19 Emergency Fund: Covers expenses from weeks of isolation, shielding, and Covid-related expenses. Since it opened in March 2020, we have distributed a total £2.59 million to 3,967 individual care workers.

Crisis Grant Programme: Care workers struggling with issues like illness, domestic violence, homelessness, and sudden income loss are helped with an average £500 grant to combat food insecurity, prevent eviction, provide essential home goods and more. We ensure care workers’ basic needs are met, stop debts from spiraling and support their emotional wellbeing. In 2021, we awarded nearly £350,000 to 666 care workers.

Covid-19 & Crisis Grants Surveys

  • 97% feel more supported in their situation
  • 86% were prevented from falling into financial hardship
  • 90% felt more supported by their workplace and sector.

MWHS Surveys

  • 100% were satisfied with their therapy
  • 94% felt their counselor helped them with their main issues
  • 82% felt better able to provide quality care at work after receiving therapy

Mental Wellbeing and Health Support Programme (MWHS):

Provides access to free, timely therapy with qualified professionals to help care workers process the trauma and burnout of working in care through the pandemic, along with other personal issues to increase their personal resiliency. Launched in February 2021, we have provided 80 care workers with invaluable mental health support from qualified therapists. With NHS waiting lists leaving people in limbo for months and private therapy largely unaffordable, this support has helped care workers care for themselves with an opportunity to process work-related trauma and build resilience that they may not have had otherwise.

Mental Health First Aider Training Programme (MHFA): Has the dual purpose of empowering care workers to support their colleague’s wellness while gaining nationally accredited professional development skills. The training equips trainees to with practical support to identify signs of mental health issues, proactively listen, and signpost to specialised support to strengthen workplace wellbeing. With a MHFA on staff, employers signal their commitment to employee wellbeing and professional skills development, both of which encourage staff retention.

MHFA Surveys

  • 100% were satisfied with the training
  • 100% thought they would be able to apply their new skills in the workplace
  • 100% would recommend this opportunity to other care providers

Top Advocacy Achievements

  • Contributed to DHSC’s December 2021 White Paper
  • On Advisory Board for University of Birmingham and the University of Sheffield’s respective research programmes into social care
  • Interviews in the BBC, The Guardian, The Independent and trade press

Workforce Advocacy Programme: Seeks to challenge care workers’ undervalued and overburdened work

lives by transforming the public and leadership’s understanding of care workers’ complex roles. We publicly advocate for sustainable social care reforms and guide governmental and sector leaders on the implementation of policies that empower the workforce with financial stability, career pathways, and respectability. We regularly meet with the Department of Health and Social Services, the Care Quality Commission, and trade partners to ensure that the workforce’s needs are factored into policy developments. We speak at approximately 100 conferences a year and engage the media to amplify care workers’ voices to the public and decision-makers.

Your Local Social Care Workforce Needs Your Help

Please contact councils@thecareworkerscharity.org.uk to see how your council and CWC can make a difference in your local care workers’ lives.