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Give&TakeCare A community-led solution to the care of older adults

One of the side effects of the medical improvements achieved over several generations is an ageing population with ever increasing demand for care services. Yet with insufficient provision from the NHS and social services to meet those needs, families already stretched by work and childcare commitments, and private care providers out of the reach of many, how can we solve the challenge of providing affordable care into the future? This is where the Give&TakeCare (G&TC) project comes in: a revolutionary community-led approach being pioneered by a team of academics from Brunel University in London. Why are we talking about it in RG10? Because they are partnering with Age Concern Twyford and District to launch the first scheme in the country right here. G&TC is a Community Interest Company (CIC) aimed at improving care for older adults in the UK. G&TC is a not-for-profit social enterprise led by Professor Heinz Wolff and Dr Gabriella Spinelli at Brunel University. Currently social care is provided through the NHS, which has cut the funds available; through family carers, for those who are lucky to have family connections nearby; or paid care, an expensive and often impersonal solution. As we live longer society is facing an unprecedented challenge: that of caring for older people – often for an extended period of time. Care requirements are diverse, but friendship is one of the most fundamental needs that we all have throughout life. Loneliness among older adults is an acute problem that can lead to physical and emotional deterioration. And yet, caring for someone is not just a one-sided service: it can be an act of kindness that enriches the giver as well as the receiver.

The G&TC solution is independent from government and commercial investments and relies on the community to provide care for older adults.

How does it work? The basic principle of G&TC is that for every hour of care you provide for someone in your community, you deposit an hour of care for yourself in a personal Care Savings account. This account becomes available to you if you need care in the future, or you can donate it to others. The hours of care you save are not subject to inflation, can be donated to a family member or friend who needs support, or can be left as a legacy in your will. This flexibility allows for someone with geographically distant family to volunteer in one place and help loved ones far away. G&TC works with charity volunteers and carers who wish to join the scheme to make their volunteering more rewarding, and with older people who feel they would benefit from the scheme. G&TC Partners can be CareGivers, CareReceivers or both. All Partners are given a gift of 10 hours in their personal Care Savings account when they join. All CareGivers are DBS checked and undergo Adult Safeguarding training. Under the G&TC scheme, every Partner can establish new relationships that help make the community self-sustainable. In each area a Locality Manager matches the needs of CareReceivers with the skills and the availability of CareGivers. Typically this is facilitated by a local charity that collaborates with G&TC to run the project in their area: in this sense Age Concern Twyford and District are to be national pioneers in trialling the scheme in practice.

10 rg10 January/February 2017. To advertise please call 0118 907 2510 or email info@rg10mag.com

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RG10 Jan/Feb 2017  

Enjoy reports and photos of local Christmas events and our own 7th birthday party on Small Business Saturday. Read about a new community-led...

RG10 Jan/Feb 2017  

Enjoy reports and photos of local Christmas events and our own 7th birthday party on Small Business Saturday. Read about a new community-led...

Profile for rg10mag