13 February 2015

Carers in Northamptonshire will benefit from a two-year pilot project which aims to help them balance work with looking after a loved one.

Northamptonshire County Council successfully applied for £150,000 from the Department of Health to introduce new strategies to support working carers, including a sitting service and a ‘try before you buy’ scheme for assistive technology.

Of the estimated 70,000 carers in Northamptonshire, almost 38 per cent are economically inactive, despite 80 per cent being within working age. Many say they feel unable to combine their caring role with paid work.

Additional support

The initiative will see a range of measures introduced, including:

  • specialised assistance to cover care appointments during working hours and affordable sitting services
  • a monitoring service to contact the cared for adult by telephone everyday at an agreed time, with updates given to the carer via text or email
  • promoting flexible working patterns for carers with employers
  • a ‘try before you buy’ scheme for assistive technology such as motion detectors and memory aid pendants

Cllr Suresh Patel, county council cabinet member for adult social care, said: “It is fantastic news that Northamptonshire has been chosen as one of nine local authorities to introduce this pilot project to offer additional support to working carers.

“More than a third of people in this county who cared for a loved one do not work and many of them tell us this is because they don’t feel able to juggle their caring responsibilities with a job.

“This initiative will enable us to introduce some key measures that can offer them the ability and peace of mind to go out to work knowing that there is support available for their loved one.”

Social enterprise

The pilot project, which starts on April 1st, will be delivered by Northamptonshire County Council through a social enterprise, with support from Northamptonshire Carers and the voluntary sector.