Shaping the future of Foundations in the Care Sector

Christopher Dickinson, Trustee, CareTech Foundation and Chief Financial Officer, CareTech plc

Remarkably, since its inception in 2017, the CareTech Foundation has positively impacted the lives of 1,550,000 people in the UK and overseas.  As we enter our fifth year of operation, it is timely for us to reflect on what we have achieved, the lessons that we and others can learn from our experience, and how we should approach the next five years and beyond.

The Foundation was founded and funded by CareTech plc, a leading provider of adult social care in the UK. Our vision was that the Foundation would deliver meaningful impact to communities in the UK and overseas by supporting and championing the social care sector, care workers and those living in care.  In establishing the Foundation, we wanted to create a sustainable legacy through which the company can give back to the social care sector and related causes. The aim was to positively contribute to social care and elevate the thinking on some of the care sector’s most complex issues.

So, how far in realising that strategic vision are we?

The Foundation has achieved some key milestones in four years by maximising the impact of its grant streams.

  • The Foundation currently supports 17 significant partnerships with credible and high-quality charities and social enterprises, having committed £2.4M to date which has enabled our partners to deliver positive impact to 1.5M beneficiaries.
  • Through the Foundation’s Match-Funding, support is provided to CareTech plc staff’s individual fundraising efforts for charitable causes. To date, we have made 155 grants and awarded over £41,000 to charities up and down the country close to our people’s hearts.
  • Our Community Grants, which support local charities and causes in the communities in which CareTech operates as well as individuals facing significant financial challenges have so far seen 145 current causes supported with some £200,000 of funding.
  • Finally, we have been able to make 418 grants worth £259,000 through our Staff-Hardship Fund, providing small grants to CareTech plc staff and those who have recently left who find themselves in, or at risk of, significant financial hardship.

The Foundation’s recent annual Impact Report highlights what the charity has achieved in the financial year 2020/21. Let’s take a look…

  • 65 charities have been helped to deliver programmes
  • £670K invested
  • 7 new strategic partnerships
  • £16.8M people reached in Pakistan through a social media campaign on mental health

One of the Foundation’s most successful partnerships is with EY Foundation which supports young people with barriers to employment by helping to increase their skills and experience with a focus on careers in the care sector as well as developing an employability programme aimed at care experience for young people. The CareTech Foundation supports two EY Foundation programmes: Beyond Your Limits and Smart Futures.

  • Beyond Your Limits directly supports 30 young people in three cohorts with a programme specifically co-designed with and for care-experienced young people aged 16-24, currently in full or part-time education.
  • Smart Futures is a 10-month programme for young people who have been eligible for free school meals or a college bursary, developing employability skills and offering a paid two-week work experience in the care sector. 20 young people completed this programme in Birmingham and Manchester in April 2021.

This partnership was shortlisted as a Finalist in the Charity Collaboration of the Year Award by the Charity Times Awards 2022.

Other key accolades achieved by the Foundation include the Board of Trustees winning Trustee Board of the Year at the Charity Times Awards 2021 and the Foundation being a finalist in Third Sector’s Corporate Foundation of the Year Award 2022.  Farouq Sheikh, CareTech Foundation founder and Executive Chairman of CareTech plc, was awarded an OBE for services to specialist social care. Jonathan Freeman MBE, CEO of the CareTech Foundation, was awarded an MBE for services to charity and also recognised in the Social Care Top 30.

The Foundation is also a Founding Patron and host of the Championing Social Care initiative – a group of leaders from across the social care sector, coming together to ensure a wider and deeper public understanding, appreciation and respect for social care. The initiative hosts Care Home Open Week, Care Sector’s Got Talent, Care Sector’s Ball and Sparkle for Social Care. These initiatives bring the care sector together and showcase the incredible people that are a part of it.

The charity also cares passionately about developing a professional career pathway in the care sector. The Social Care Leaders Scheme aims to bring a whole new cadre of leadership talent into social care. The Scheme will, we hope, in the future shape the leadership in the care sector by providing potential leaders with a route into senior management.

The challenges facing the social care sector and those it serves are making headline news like never before.  The work of the Foundation has never been more important, both in terms of the increasing need to reach and support the most vulnerable people in society but also in championing the sector of which we are all so very proud.

The Foundation has provided a much-needed vehicle for positive change and to support the sector in times of stress and need.  The team at the Foundation are proud to be part of a charity that could support staff in need through its recent Summer Cost of Living Crisis Grants scheme and its small grants programme delivering impact to local community projects.

So, we think that we have made a pretty good start!  But all of us at the Foundation know this is just the beginning and there is so much more to be achieved.  The plan at the Foundation is to continue to grow in scale, impact and relevance. But we need others to join our mission.

It is great to see other providers continuing their commitment to charitable endeavour, such as the Hallmark Foundation and Barchester Foundation, as well as the support many providers provide to the Care Workers’ Charity. However, the hope is that many more will follow the Foundation’s lead and join forces with us to create a really strong and vibrant collection of grant-making Foundations, focused on the social care sector.  Whilst we are proud of our successes to date, there is plenty of room for more corporate foundations in the social care sector.  We are more than happy to share the limelight!



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