A Cambridgeshire care and rehab community has committed to providing at least the National Living Wage for its frontline care workers, as it seeks to remould perceptions of the care industry – which is often portrayed as underpaid.
Askham Village Community, a specialist family-run care and rehabilitation community, near Doddington, has unveiled the new package, which alongside a commitment to providing at least the National Living Wage for frontline care workers who have passed their probation, also includes a staff perks package that offers discounts at major retailers.
The changes to staff remuneration have been timed to coincide with Professional Care Workers’ Week (6th to 10th September) – an event which looks to recognise those working in the industry and celebrate the incredible work they do.
Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, Director at Askham Village Community, commenting on the move, said: “Care is sometimes held up as an industry that fails to reward its staff for their hard work. Our commitment to providing at least the living wage for our frontline care workers though is testament to the value we place on our workforce and their incredible efforts. A fair wage for fair work should be a fundamental part of employment and this is something we’ll look to do going forward.”
A significant step to reward its carers for their efforts throughout the pandemic, the wage commitment will be funded directly by the organisation and family who are behind the 30-year second-generation family business – and will cost more than £150,000 annually.
In addition to this, the staff perks package has seen Askham partner with Staff Treats to enable carers to take advantage of discounts at leading UK supermarkets such as Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, as well as household name retail brands such as Adidas, Zara, Debenhams and ASOS. In total, staff will be entitled to more than 3,000 discounts across retail, travel, hospitality, and home furnishings.
Luke Cook, Head of Rehab and Nursing at Askham, said: “The newly announced local and central government reform of social care is welcome, but long overdue. Appropriately, trained, supported, and motivated staff must be acknowledged and valued. We are taking steps to recognise and reward our frontline care workers – not simply wait for the government to do so.”
Joanne Monaghan, Head of Care & Nursing and Registered Manager at Askham Hall and Askham House, said: “We’re delighted to announce this new care package, especially with it coinciding with Professional Care Workers’ Week, which is all about respecting and recognising the outstanding efforts of care workers.”
Aliyyah continued: “Our carers do a wonderful job, and we’re hoping this will go some way towards showing our appreciation for the incredible care they provide for our residents. The inclusion of the perks package alongside our living wage commitment will also offer further financial assistance to our staff, thanks to reduced bills on groceries and other essentials.”
She added: “As an independent family-run business, we work closely with our care team and witness them provide quality care every day. Following the pandemic, we wanted to reward them for their courage, selflessness and determination in ensuring Askham continues to deliver the very best in person-centred care. Of course, we wish we could go further in our measures, but we have to be conscious we can only operate within the economics of the industry to ensure we remain sustainable. Hopefully though, following the reforms, there will be increased opportunity to give all those working in social care even greater recognition and rewards.”
Now in its second year, Professional Care Workers’ Week aims to shine a light on the work happening in the social care sector. It provides a platform for people to share best practice, share their experiences, and to have discussions about the future of social care.