Co-Production Opinion

The strength of innovation is taking ideas from others

Tariq Naseer Raja, Foundation Manager, CareTech Foundation

Tariq Naseer Raja, Foundation Manager, CareTech Foundation

Did you know that it takes more than just Apple to create an iPhone? That, without Samsung, Sony could not produce its TV or that without other car manufacturers providing essential parts, Land Rover could not produce any of its vehicles? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you understand without co-production, nothing in the World around us would work as it does because one person, one organisation and one sector cannot do it all. The strength of innovation is taking ideas from others and adding context to achieve suitable outcomes.

In 2017, when the CareTech Foundation was founded by CareTech Holdings Ltd, this was one of the key realisations. By bringing social care and charity grant-giving together, we could achieve more for both sectors. Since 2017, the CareTech Foundation has delivered meaningful impact to communities in the UK and overseas by supporting and championing the social care sector, carers and those living in care. An integral part of this has been the 12,000 staff of CareTech and our in-kind agreement to not only bring experts from social care to our charity partners but to offer relief through charity grant-giving.

Together, we have co-produced streams of collaboration which extend beyond the limitations each organisation would traditionally face. These mechanisms for collaboration also increase the impact each organisation is capable of making alongside the other.

Between 2018-2021, the Foundation partnered with EY Foundation to introduce 45 16-19 year olds to opportunities within the care sector. What made this programme unique is not that a grant-giver funded a programme of this nature, it was that we were able to give paid work experience to all 45 young people in care settings operated by CareTech and assign staff mentors. As a result, 30% of young people became interested in a career in care.

In our on-going partnership with Breaking Barriers, CareTech has helped create a bespoke recruitment pathway for refugees interested in joining care. In our partnership with RNIB, we have tested the Vision Friends model and found that as much as 10-15% of individuals in care may have undiagnosed visual impairments. All of this and more, delivered through charities, tested and developed through CareTech staff, then becomes available for the wider sector to benefit from. By joining our resources together, the impact becomes sustainable. 28 refugees have entered the social care sector. We now have 148 Vision Friends in the English care sector. And, this is just the beginning of something much bigger.

It is important to emphasise that this model extends beyond charity to charity partnerships. Since 2017, the CareTech Foundation has supported 281 charities through the generosity and charitable spirit of CareTech staff. Our Community Grants offer staff an opportunity to sponsor applications for their families, friends and community programmes that are not part of CareTech. This has led to SEND schools receiving funding for sensory equipment, family members being able to purchase mobility/accessibility equipment, cost of living support and a variety of local sports clubs being able to purchase new kits and access facilities. Through CareTech staff sponsorship, we have awarded 185 grants for an incredible £311,000.

As the 17th most charitable nation in the world, we are able to celebrate the generosity of CareTech staff by offering them the Match-Funding Grants. Any time a staff member or service user in CareTech fundraises for a registered charity, we match-fund the total raised by £350 per person. This has meant that we have awarded an incredible £61,000 to 202  applicants. On the back of the success of the Match-Funding Grants, we extended it to launch ‘Match it’ so staff who were volunteering for a charity could also give financial support alongside their expertise, time and passion. This is the positive result of two independent organisations with a common set of values coming together.

The ripple effect of these acts is profound. Something as small as a care worker reading your material to see if the language is still relevant can change how your audience engages with your messaging. It has proven to be life-changing in many cases. None of this would be possible without both the Foundation and CareTech being involved in this unique manner. Yes, we have a reliance on CareTech as our largest donor, but, what we are able to offer charities, through CareTech staff, is the difference maker. We have been able to co-produce a way of working that is both relevant and sustainable for the future of social care. An overwhelming 30% of individuals who come into contact with our employability charity partners want to work in social care but do not have access readily available. CareTech can help! An overwhelming number of care staff quietly support their local communities. We can help!

The more we are able to align our values and work together towards shared outcomes, the stronger our sectors become. The Foundation has evidence of this working for six years. We are beyond excited what this will look like in another six as we learn and develop further, together!


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