The New Economics Foundation, with Localise West Midlands, has just published an important contribution to the debate about how care can be delivered differently to benefit people and local communities.
We have a wealth of experience working with transformational local authorities wanting to ‘do care differently’. We know that in every area there are skilled local people willing and able to set up a small enterprise to care for other local people.
These ‘community entrepreneurs’ tend to be motivated differently to people employed by care organisations. They enjoy being able to decide when and with whom they work, they value the relationships they form with the people they support, like working locally and see what they do as a way of giving back to their community. They are naturally collaborative, sharing resource and learning through our local peer-led networks. They run enterprises and ventures that are small, supporting on average three people, but as the case study included in this report shows, many enterprises together make a significant impact on both the choice available to people who need care services and on their local economy.
We were delighted to have been able to contribute to the report, sharing our experience of supporting community care enterprise across over 50 local authorities over 8 years. Many of the lessons we have learned are included and we strongly endorse the report’s recommendations. With the New Economic Foundation and Localise West Midlands we urge decision makers to recognise that one-size-fits-all approaches to issues such as workforce, procurement and regulation will exclude or crush desperately needed community-led solutions to current care challenges. Legislators, regulators and commissioners need to think very differently if ‘care’ is to be delivered in ways that work for people and also benefit local communities and economies.
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