North East Dartmoor (NED) Care is a new social enterprise and community-led organisation in Devon set up to meet the care needs of communities – especially older people – in north east Dartmoor. North east Dartmoor has a population of 13,158, with 10% more people over 65 than the UK average.
The social enterprise was created through an Our Place partnership in response to a shortfall in statutory service provision in social care. By bringing together local partners to create an exciting social enterprise, NED Care aims to provide training and a fair wage to encourage local people to work as carers in their neighbourhood.
The partnership is led by Moretonhampstead Development Trust which works to improve the local area with a range of community projects including, a volunteer-run information centre, computer learning centre, arts, sports, leisure and youth projects.
Their vision is that ‘Every adult in the north east Dartmoor area can get the care that they need, where and when they need it’. The group believes this can be best achieved through community-led, local care, instead of through an external care agency.
The new network of partners will help ensure there are no gaps in service for older, vulnerable people to ‘ping around the system’ without getting support. Partners have been chosen for their understanding of and links to the local area, their access to informal networks and for their expertise in shaping the local strategy. They are working together cooperatively, rather than competitively, to meet local needs.
Devon Country Council identified the local area as ‘at risk’ because of its rurality and single lane roads. The meant that care agencies based some distance away found providing adult social care unprofitable. Something needed to be done.
In early 2016 NED Care established a ‘Carer Introduction Service,’ helping people to find self-employed carers in the area and to date have facilitated over 1,000 hours of care per week for local people. However what’s really needed is a regulated service, one that is safe and compliant with Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards and which can be used by the local authority. Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and local donations, by late 2016 NED Care secured the start-up funding required to launch a regulated care agency and look set to achieve registration by April 2017.
NED Care’s strength is in its localness. It will employ care-workers who live in the same village as their clients. They will use local networks, such as the Women’s Institute and Parish Council to publicise local jobs. They will give care staff the best possible terms and conditions, believing an engaged and committed local workforce will keep costs down. This will also keep money in the local economy.
Hear more about this community-led social enterprise, transforming care services locally, in their feature on BBC Sunday Politics South East (40:38 in) below.
BBC Sunday Politics, NED Care feature