The social care arena is a sector fraught with twists and turns in legislation, funding and governance. To some it can appear to be a world of complicated processes and more often than not it is under a heady spotlight. For New Directions Social Care, we see a community, we see support and we see a coming together of very unique people who make a difference every day.
In 2015 we decided to step outside the warmth of the Welsh borders and put down some roots in South West England – Bristol to be precise. I came here full of hope, but with trepidation about how the sector differed from that of its South Wales counterparts. I was overwhelmed with what I was about to discover on my journey to falling in love with Brizzle!
First for some startling facts that opened my eyes to the task ahead…
*There are roughly 40,000 carers in Bristol providing care (paid and unpaid) to another person across the region. That statistic ONLY reflects those individuals over 18…we all know about the growing numbers of younger carers.
*26,080 adults aged between 18 and 64 are living with a learning or physical disability…and this is estimated to be growing by 15% year on year.
*Finally (and tragically) it is thought that by 2032 (I know it seems an eternity away) there will be a 38% increase in individuals living with dementia.
So what was Bristol doing to address these agendas? I did my research, I discovered organisations like VOSCUR and The Care Forum and I was assured we had made the right choice as an organisation to make Bristol our next home. Bristol is literally awash with social care providers developing creative ways to make budgets stretch – the city and it’s imagination knows no bound.
This was highlighted to me recently when I met with one provider who became a client and they told me a story to warm the coldest of hearts. This residential unit for individuals with learning disabilities had two residents who had pledged to get fit for the New Year. The staff at the unit accommodated this by creating a volunteering rota – which meant that they dedicated time outside of their paid hours to help the residents embark upon rambles and walks of up to two miles. I welled up – seriously…in an underfunded sector that faces some serious challenges, people cared – people gave themselves to make a better experience for someone trying to make their lives better.
So here we are in 2017 and ready to support the region with another year of recruitment support, driving engagement with a rather beautiful sector and helping to signpost the very best of staff into the hostels, care homes, residential homes to make this amazing city with the biggest of hearts even more of a community.
In a time when the world seems at odds with itself, it is utterly refreshing to be welcomed into a region that looks at people with a sense of making things better. My new adopted city is certainly stirring a sense of pride for this social care recruiter…