Somerset wins prestigious local government award

Somerset County Council has won a prestigious national award in recognition of its groundbreaking work in supporting the set-up of microbusinesses who provide help for local people  

Beating a record number of submissions this year, leading local government publication the MJ has awarded Somerset County Council an MJ Achievement Award in the Delivering Better Outcomes category, for its Somerset Community Micro-enterprise project. This  supports people to get set up as Micro-providers who then provide help and support on the ground in local communities for people who need it

The live awards took place in London on Friday 17th September, and saw local authorities go head-to-head in 16 different categories.

Mel Lock, Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled to see Microproviders recognised at the MJ Awards this year. Somerset has a very rural population compared to other parts of the UK, and prior to 2014, many people living in more rurally isolated areas could struggle to find suitable care if they found themselves in need of support. Though the residential care on offer in Somerset is fantastic, with 95% of providers rated by as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, residential care is not the right solution for everyone. Microproviders have enabled people in more isolated areas to remain in their own homes, by offering local, flexible care and support.  

“Typically, Micro-providers support people with personal care, managing their home or garden, or helping them get out and about, meet friends, pursue hobbies or work. Because they are so flexible in what they can offer, they have been at the forefront of Somerset’s response to Covid-19. It’s absolutely fantastic to see our brilliant Microproviders recognised with this award, and is a real testament to their hard work, dedication, and genuine care. Well done! ”

Somerset resident Jane Williams, who has received care from Microproviders and shared her testimony with the judging panel, said: “All the Microproviders I have met are professional, charming, intelligent, and able. They take on a variety of work, such as bed making, meal prep, and shopping. But what’s more important is that they know about empathic listening, which allows you to have your own voice. I had lost my own voice through loneliness, isolation, and fear. I was a councillor myself in the past, so I know about professional empathic listening – that’s the most valuable thing they can offer you. There’s nothing like the emotional support that being able to express yourself to someone who is sharing with you the experience that you have. There is nothing to compare with that.

“I’ve started writing again! I had given it up completely, but Claudia [Jane’s Microprovider] will write while I dictate. It’s relating to someone after being so lonely – having someone that says “Yes, I know about that”. Nothing can replace that, and that is what they give you. I know they care, and I know they have become my friends.

I was absolutely delighted to hear they had won this award, and most deservedly so!”

Somerset County Council leader Cllr David Fothergill said: “I’m incredibly proud to see our fantastic Microproviders recognised with this prestigious award. It’s been a particularly tough year in social care this year, and Somerset’s Microproviders have demonstrated heroic levels of dedication and creativity to ensure that the residents of Somerset were supported and protected during the pandemic. On behalf of the Council, I’d like to thank all involved for their incredible work, and congratulate them for this fantastic achievement!”

Cllr David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Somerset’s Microproviders have truly gone above and beyond the call of duty this year, and it’s great to see them getting the recognition they deserve. They’ve coped remarkably well in the face of enormous pressures and a growing demand for care, providing physical, emotional, and social support to people to help them live independent, dignified lives where they are in control. Huge congratulations to all involved!”

ENDS

For more information, please contact the press office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

Attached photo features MJ awards host Ed Balls (left) Chris Squire (middle), Somerset County Council’s Director of HR & Organisational Development, and Rob Thomas (right), Managing Director, Vale of Glamorgan Council

For more information about Somerset Microproviders, visit:
Micro Providers information and advice (somersetcommunityconnect.org.uk)
Micro Providers – Somerset Carers