£20m boost for adult social care and unpaid carers

  • 20th March 2024

£20m invested in innovative projects supporting people in adult social care and unpaid carers across the country


People in adult social care and unpaid carers will benefit from a £20m boost to fund innovative projects across the country, as the Government continues to deliver on its vision for social care reform.

The Accelerating Reform Fund will expand community-based care models such as Shared Lives, a service that matches people aged 16 and above with approved carers.

Under this scheme, people move in with their Shared Lives carer on a short- or long-term basis, giving people with care needs more freedom and autonomy and allowing them to live more independently in the community.

Short-term care through Shared Lives also supports unpaid carers by providing them with more flexibility and respite breaks.

Last week, Social Care Minister, Helen Whately, visited a Shared Lives home in Oxfordshire where she met and spoke with the Shared Lives carer and the three people who live with them in the home.

She said: “We’re sticking to our plan to deliver ambitious social care reforms that will ensure everyone gets the care they need and help even more people to live independently.

“Alongside our workforce reforms, we’re supporting the sector by backing innovations which will make our care system fit for the future and provide vital support to our selfless unpaid carers.

“I’ve seen first hand how Shared Lives helps people who need care, and I’m delighted this funding will scale up support and make an even bigger difference for more people across the country.”

The funding will also develop innovations and digital tools focused on identifying and supporting unpaid carers.

For example:

  • Local authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire will expand a digital carers self-help tool to equip carers with the ability to identify local support and access bespoke information to support their own wellbeing
  • Local authorities in West Yorkshire will use the funding to connect hospitality, tourism, and leisure businesses with unpaid carers so they can donate holidays and experiences to carers to recognise their invaluable contribution to society
  • In south west London, the funding will scale up approaches for identifying unpaid carers, such as through hospital discharge programmes and referring them to carers networks

The Accelerating Reform Fund provides a total of £42.6m over 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 to support innovation and initiatives in adult social care services across the country, focused on developing and scaling sustainable and effective types of support for people with care needs.

£20m is being allocated to lead local authorities, covering all 42 integrated care systems, which deliver adult social care services and will work with a range of partners including the NHS, care providers, voluntary, and community groups.

New funding will help to expand community-based care models

The money is the first tranche of funding for 2023-2024. The second – totalling £22.6m – will be allocated in 2024-2025.

Kathryn Smith, chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said: “We’re excited about the opportunities offered by the Accelerating Reform Fund, which is uniquely focused on innovation in social care.

“Whether digital innovation, or new ways to deliver support, local people who draw on care and the millions of amazing unpaid carers delivering care around the clock stand to benefit significantly from the fund.

“It’s great to see the range of projects now emerging from local authorities working in partnership all over the country and we are determined to support local leaders to find ways to overcome obstacles to innovation to improve lives.”

Kirsty McHugh, chief executive of the Carers Trust, added: “We are pleased to have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care on the Accelerating Reform Fund and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this investment will make to unpaid carers.

“We will continue to work with DHSC to ensure the fund has a lasting and sustained positive impact on the ground both for local carer services and the carers they support.

“We know that many of the local carer organisations in our network are closely involved with or delivering these funded projects via their specialist support offer and we welcome the Accelerating Reform Fund’s ambition to be one part of the wider transformation of social care that is needed to ensure unpaid carers get the support they need.”

The fund supports the Government’s 10-year vision for adult social care, which focuses on 3 objectives:

  • People have choice, control and support to live independent lives
  • People can receive outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  • People find adult social care fair and accessible

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