If you were to google ‘care’ or come across any ‘care’ news stories in the media you would find a lot of bad news. You would hear horrific stories of poor experiences of care by those reliant on it, stories about lack of funding and 15 minute visits and ‘cover ups’ by those in the sector.
Lately the same could be said about fundraising. In recent months the voluntary sector has come under fire for its ‘fundraising methods’, stories of ‘pressurising donors’ and ‘cold-calling’ are everywhere.
So, you come to a point in your life where you are looking for your next challenge, you would think that choosing to not only set up a company to deliver care, but also to set it up as a Community Interest Company organisation would be the last thing that you would consider, right?
Not for Reuben Jenkins and Tina Darrock. Just over two years ago they launched Carers Break Community Interest Company, a social enterprise dedicated to helping carers and their families take control of their own care. Although a challenging environment Reuben and Tina both felt passionately about providing a personal care service to those who need it and one that its staff can feel proud to work for.
From the very start of Carers Break Reuben and Tina were determined to only offer a service that they felt happy with, that they would be comfortable for their loved ones to receive should it be needed. A service that was completely transparent in how it worked, that had nothing to hide and was designed to deliver benefit to those it looked after; enabling social inclusiveness, reducing isolation and improving the emotional and physical health and well-being of the individual. At their recent two year birthday celebration it was clear that this view is emulated by all of the Carers Break Team. As Reuben says “We are a Company with a huge heart. The team here do it as an extension of who they are, rather than an expression of what they do”.
So why stop there?
After two years with the care services stable and very much in demand, Reuben and Tina are now looking at other ways in which they can further support those Carers Break look after. Continuing in the same light as the care service it is non-negotiable to Reuben and Tina, that quality, transparency and ethics are intrinsic to any new project that Carers Break embarks upon. As part of this Carers Break has been part of pilot projects and research work that are actively seeking to improve the lives of carers and cared for alike.
Carers Break newest partnership is with social enterprise advant~age.
advant~age is a national organisation that enables charities and social enterprises to help vulnerable people, their families & carers and supporters obtain access to safe and reputable products and services, whilst at the same time generating valuable unrestricted income for the social enterprise and minimising reputational risk. The role of advant~age includes performing rigorous due diligence and quality control on the providers of the services that it offers. This then ensures that customers can then be confident they will receive a high quality service at a fair price and charities can feel confident in signposting to providers, knowing that their reputations are protected. This was essential to Carers Break.
Through the partnership with advant~age, Carers Break are now able to offer an increased range of products and services to those that it looks after. Services such as independent financial advice, equity release advice and stairlifts.
In addition to this the services that advant~age offers can also be a great way for Carers Break supporters to help them further. The great news is that this is a no extra cost to the customer. The advant~age model works whereby for every product sold via Carers Break a donation is made back to Carers Break to help it continue to achieve its mission. For example, through the partnership with advant~age it is now possible to buy flowers, gift experiences and even energy via Carers Break.
advant~age ensures that the services it offers with Carers Break are transparent and ethical. As such a customer via Carers Break would always pay exactly the same, or even less, than going by going directly to the provider. As an example Carers Break CIC customers/supporters receive a 10% discount on all of the flowers and gift products available. Plus, Carers Break CIC receive a donation.
Reuben and Tina feel that this is a great fundraising model to share with their supporters as it increases services and is both ethical and transparent; supporters are able to help Carers Break simply by purchasing everyday products.
Carers Break CIC are demonstrating day in day out that by tackling today’s challenges head on and in the right way valuable support can be given to those who need it most. Where could this next lead them? Maybe keep an eye on the headlines to find out!