Somerset helps small care providers set up

Somerset County Council is encouraging small care and support providers to set up business in a bid to give local people more choice over their care.

Rhys Davies, Project Co-ordinator at Community Catalyst, the company commissioned by Somerset County Council to run the two-year project, said: “The project aims to give small start-ups and existing care and support providers practical information on everything from regulation to training and sources of funding. We offer support, feedback, advice and signposting to help people establish a new venture or help existing enterprises.”

The project aims to create more small care and support services in Somerset that offer something a bit different to existing services, giving local people more choice and flexibility over how they receive their care.

Rhys continued: “I have been amazed by what is happening under the radar. In one rural village I came across a  village care co-operative, where a small group of sole-traders have banded together to offer everything from personal care and sitting service to handyman and dog walking services. With one well-known experienced carer as the informal village care co-ordinator. The reliability, cost effectiveness and importantly personalised service for the customer were obvious to the village.”

A Spokesperson for Somerset County Council, said:  “The Care Act emphasises the need to give people more choice and control over their care, and we want to offer the widest possible choice to people with social care and support needs in Somerset. This project gives skilled individuals the tools they need to provide professional local services to meet the needs of local people.”

As well as assisting new enterprises, the project will work with existing small support providers to ensure they thrive, deliver great services and increase the choice available to people.

If you are interested in setting up, or are already running a small service which is local, independent and has less than five employees or volunteers please contact Rhys on 07595 411 945 or by email: rhys.davies@communitycatalysts.co.uk

Care and support providers can advertise their services for free on a new website called Somerset Choices that is due to launch in June 2015. People will be able to use the website to search for services in their local area and choose the care they want. To find out more about Somerset Choices and to advertise services visit: www.somerset.gov.uk/adult-social-care/somerset-choices/