Equal Care Co-op – the UK’s first digital platform social care co-operative – is aiming to raise £300,000 through a pioneering community share offer launching on 12 June.
The co-op wants to radically reshape the care system and put power back where it belongs – with the receivers and givers of care and support.
Founded in 2018, Equal Care Co-op has created two ‘circles of support’ – groups consisting of care and support workers and people needing care and support in the Calderdale area of West Yorkshire.
The digital platform will be used to match those wanting care with local care and support workers and professionally trained volunteers. People seeking care can choose who supports them and how, and have control over their data and who sees it. And care and support workers can choose when and where they work.
Equal Care Co-op is issuing the shares to raise funds to develop the platform software that will give care givers and receivers greater control over how support happens. Reports, care plans, appointments and arranging training etc, will all be handled digitally. The technology will remove costly layers of management and paperwork – and allow more of the fees to go to the workers.
The funds raised will also help sustain the two ‘circles of support’ that have been set up – in the market town of Hebden Bridge and in Blackshaw Head, a remote village in the South Pennines. Both circles need investment to continue their development, and the share offer will help them grow, and help start new ones.
The innovative co-op is also planning the introduction of an alternative currency, Care Coins, which can be used as a form of exchange to ‘buy’ support or to give it to someone else.
“We see Care Coins as a new way of exchange, owned by and administered for people giving and receiving support,” said Fran Watson, one of the founders of Equal Care Co-op. “I want Care Coins to encourage us all to care, to see what care we can do and to know real wealth is in giving.”
To find out more, express your interest and pre-register for the share offer visit: www.equalcare.coop.