Co-Production Learning Disabilities & Autism Opinion

Unlocking the potential to create the best lives possible

Jim Kane, CEO, Community Integrated Care

Jim Kane, CEO, Community Integrated Care

Social care is a highly skilled sector that provides rewarding careers, brings billions of pounds to the UK’s economy, and at its best, enables people to lead full and independent lives in their communities. At some point, all of us will likely lean on the social care system, whether requiring support directly or through the care of a loved one. It is, undoubtedly, the backbone of our society.

Creating the Best Lives Possible

In 2022, Community Integrated Care unveiled its new five-year strategy, Best Lives Possible, which advocates for this very statement; ensuring that the people we support and the people who support them, live the fullest, happiest and most inspired lives.

Best Lives Possible lies at the heart of our charity’s philosophy of care and support – ask anyone, in any role, at Community Integrated Care why they do they job they do, and I can almost guarantee they’ll tell you just that!

For us, this means developing a deep understanding of each person we support and who they are at their very core. It’s about more than assisting people with their basic needs; it’s hearing their voices, appreciating their values, celebrating their passions and supporting them to accomplish their dreams.

It also means continuing to advocate for people with disabilities and championing social inclusion across our communities. To raise awareness and have the biggest impact possible, we know that collaborating beyond the social care sector is key. That’s why such an important part of the work we do is within our communities, forging new partnerships and opportunities.

We’re proud to have worked with some really high-profile partners over the past year to promote disability inclusion on a national and global scale. From our trailblazing Inclusive Volunteering programme with Sport England – providing countless life-changing opportunities for the people we support – to working side by side with technology experts, Okta, to improve digital inclusion across our organisation, our teams have continued to break down barriers.

We’ve also showcased what can be achieved when we come together with other like-minded organisations, using our collective power to make a difference to people’s lives. By continuing to join forces, within the care sector and beyond, I hope we can extend our impact even further, make the perceived ‘impossible’ possible and play a huge part in ensuring that all people and all generations can live their best lives.

A sector with extraordinary potential

Social care has the potential to enable every person with support needs, regardless of age or background, to live a full life of choice, independence and dignity. However, too often we witness a narrow narrative and focus from those in power, with policy and debate frequently focusing on older people’s care. Whilst this too is vital to our society, the social care system encompasses so much more.

With NHS England reporting that local authorities received almost 2 million requests for adult social care support in 2021-22 alone[1] – that’s about 5,420 requests per day in England – the magnitude of the sector’s impact is clear. However, funding and support from the Government rarely reflects this.

In December last year, we launched the second instalment of our ground-breaking [2]Unfair To Care report. Demonstrating that social care workers are still undervalued by more than £8,000 compared to their equivalents in the NHS, the report highlighted how unfair pay is an injustice that not only impacts our dedicated colleagues and people who draw upon support, but society and public services at large.

There’s so much more that could be done – and that needs to be – to unlock the potential that social care has, and to provide incredible support for people with disabilities of all ages and all needs, so that they can live fulfilling and aspirational lives.”

[1] Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, England 2021-22, https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/adult-social-care-activity-and-finance-report/2021-22

[2] https://www.unfairtocare.co.uk

Kirsty

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