As the pressures on social care workers mount and the care sector faces the hardest winter on record, a new organisation has launched to support social care workers and recognise their dedication and personal sacrifices.
Support Social Care Heroes (SSCH) has been established by Nicola Richards, Managing Director of Palms Row Health Care and Chair of the Sheffield Care Association.
SSCH, which is in the process of achieving charitable status, aims to preserve, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of those providing social care.
There are 1.54m people working in social care in the UK and this is expected to increase to 2.17m by 2035. This workforce is often overlooked yet they keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe and well.
Carers often work long, anti-social hours and they don’t often get the recognition and rewards they deserve. The situation was desperate before the pandemic but the last two years has seen them struggle like never before.
It is hoped that SSCH will receive significant support following research which found that the overwhelming majority of the public feel that social care staff are undervalued (81%) and underpaid (80%).
Nicola Richards commented:
“We’re facing a precipice in social care and Support for Social Care Heroes is building a bridge to a future in which those who need care, and those caring for them, are valued by society.
“The care sector loses its best people every week. Our organisation aims to end this revolving door for employees by bringing greater meaning to their role and supporting employers to make meaningful, long-term changes to their circumstances.
“Our country’s social care heroes have been on the front line and in the headlines for over 18 months and, though there is more public recognition for the amazing work they do, they are overworked, underpaid and lacking support.
“While the sector continues to fight for fair wages and conditions for carers, Support Social Care Heroes aims to fill a gap by improving the wellbeing of these vital workers and show them that they are valued. It’s time to care for our social care heroes.”
Donations to SSCH will raise funds to be used solely in supporting care workers, enabling a better work / life balance, improved resilience, fewer acute cases through stress, and eliminating chronic long-term illness whenever possible and retaining talent within the sector to help stabilise the current staffing crisis. Work will focus on taking successful person centred, holistic and fun wellbeing pilot programmes and scaling them up to deliver for care heroes across the country.
Laura Hibbard, Care Manager at Westbourne Care home in Sheffield, added:
“The last 18 months have been so tough for everyone in the care sector. Care home residents across the country have shown unimaginable resilience throughout the pandemic but the people who care for them are mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.
“No one becomes a carer for the money, we do it to improve the lives of vulnerable people. It can be a hugely rewarding experience but it can also be extremely difficult at times. Carers often feel forgotten so I think it’s wonderful that SSCH is being established to acknowledge the crucial role they play in our society.”
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chair of the, National Care Association, commented:
“Valuing our workforce for the professionalism they have shown though the past 20 months, and for many years before, is essential
“We must do everything we can to show them how much we care about them as they support those in our services. The passion with which Support Social Care Heroes is being launched as an innovative, led by providers, organisation demonstrates how invaluable our workforce is to us
“Being able to do something tangible for them when they need it most feels positive. Caring about those who care for others is the right thing to do.”
Brigitte Kaviani, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, commented:
“The last 18 months has been one of the most difficult periods in NHS and Social Care organisations. The SYB ICS is already supporting our care worker ‘heroes’ by providing mental health support via our mental health resilience hub Home (tercltd.co.uk) which provides fast-track access to assessment and the appropriate support pathway via a 24/7, 365 helpline.
“We also provide access to ‘free’ Health and Wellbeing programmes via our extensive programmes Workforce wellbeing :: SYB ICS.
“Being able to support our Care home colleagues is paramount as we need to ensure we support them by providing Health and Wellbeing programmes and supporting any holistic and rewarding HWB initiatives.”