Somerset’s trail-blazing micro-provider care initiative is looking for new community entrepreneurs.
Created four years ago by the County Council in partnership with the Community Catalysts social enterprise, the project helps people with big ideas set-up very small care, help or support services.
There are now nearly 400 micro-providers in Somerset providing around 1,600 people with care. ‘Start-up surgeries’ are being run across the county for people thinking about joining their ranks and networks of providers are well-established, with providers supporting each other and sharing good practice.
The initiative gives more choice to those who need care and support and helps fill the gaps where care support can be hard to find – particularly in rural areas. It’s also an exciting new career or second career option for people with a passion for making a difference in their community.
Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet member with responsibility for Adult Services, said: “This fantastic project gives people more choice when it comes to finding care to help them carry on living independently at home. It’s great for the Council too because it helps us find care options where larger providers may not be able to help.
“It’s innovative, flexible and means people are often receiving care from someone in their own community who has priceless local knowledge.
“By giving people the right tools and a little bit of confidence, we’re helping tap into the talent and energy that already exists in our communities and I would encourage anyone who thinks this might be for them to come along to one of these start-up surgeries.”
The start-up surgeries held by Community Catalysts cover the legal and practical aspects of becoming a micro-provider. To find out more anyone with an interest should contact project co-ordinator Rhys Davies: email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07595411945.
You can watch a short film with Rosie, one of our wonderful micro-providers, talking about what she does and why she finds it rewarding.
“It’s a win-win situation, supporting your local community and people in it, but it’s also providing employment,” she said. “I was very nervous about being self-employed but was given just the right support. You have to enjoy meeting new people and that’s what I really enjoy.
“You need a big heart but it’s very rewarding.”