NEDCare Delivers a Community-Led Homecare Service with Loans from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund

North East Dartmoor Care CIC (NEDCare) has received loans totalling £150,000 from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West) (H&WCFSW), managed by social impact investment company Resonance.  The loan will enable the CIC to employ more carers to deliver high quality care to people in their homes to help them stay well.

The threatened closure of Moretonhampstead Community Hospital back in 2014 led to the area being in ‘market failure’ for social care due to the lack of regulated care agencies in the area that could provide care to older people in their homes.  Patients would be left waiting in acute hospital beds, or prematurely leaving their homes to move into residential care, often miles away from friends and family and the communities they knew, negatively impacting their quality of life and resulting in large costs to the health service. The area, home to around 13,500 residents, like many rural locations is made up of small towns, villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings. The population is 10% older than the national average and the 70+ age group is set to grow significantly in the coming years. Transport links are poor, and residents suffer from a lack of access to shops, services and employment opportunities.  Against this backdrop, North East Dartmoor Care CIC (NEDcare) was initially set up as a community initiative.

NEDCare worked with Moretonhampstead Development Trust, a local charity with an excellent track record in progressive and ambitious community development projects, and together they secured funding to begin a process of community engagement, demand and options analysis and business planning. Following this they identified two urgent actions:

  1. To launch a Carer Introductory Service
  2. To establish a locally focussed care agency, regulated by the CQC

Following the community consultation, NEDCare started with an introduction service connecting self-employed carers to individuals requiring care.  This proved extremely popular and crucial to the further development of the organization, which next tackled the complicated process of becoming a regulated care agency, regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The investment from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund will allow NEDCare to expand so it can meet demand from the NHS and Devon County Council to provide homecare for individuals leaving hospital, which will prevent bed-blocking.  The CIC is working hard to recruit and train more carers to provide care in the area and is actively recruiting now.  Whilst the carers were initially self-employed in order to assess the market demand, NEDCare now employs its carers directly.  Without NEDCare most people would have to go into a care home prematurely or remain in hospital.  People are now able to be looked after in their own homes reducing costs to the NHS and improving patient outcomes.

The Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund is an impact investment fund established with investment from the Growth Fund and South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN).  The Growth Fund is managed by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, and is funded from the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

The Fund seeks to make social impact investment more accessible and relevant to smaller social enterprises looking to expand their operations and impact in the South West linked to the broad theme of Health & Wellbeing. The loan to NEDCare will help the organization build capacity as they look to deliver the services demanded by their local community – employing enough carers to meet demand and work with people of all income levels to ensure affordability doesn’t prevent people accessing help that they desperately need.

Tom Crook explained why NEDCare were a good fit for the Fund: “NEDCare has a strong team in place, which has built bridges and engaged with the community, working hard to focus on the real needs of individuals. It started trading in July 2017 and has a strong track record over those months of growing month on month.  It is on an upward trajectory and Resonance is delighted to be able to support NEDCare to provide for an area that was so badly affected by the lack of such provision.”

Julia Darby Executive Director of NEDCare talks about working with Resonance and what difference the loan will make: “The team at Resonance have been fantastic.  After we had talked on the phone about what we do and why we wanted the loan, they came over to spend a morning really getting to know the business, how it works and our vision for the future of older peoples care on north east Dartmoor.  They explained the process which was really straightforward and then walked us through that, step by step.  They really couldn’t have been more helpful.  The loan will be providing working capital for NEDCare as we grow our client base over the coming two years to reach and surpass our minimum viability level of service.”

John Willis of Moretonhampstead Development Trust discusses the Trust’s vision for this work:  “We started NEDCare when there was a crisis in home care locally, and our vision for the future is one where everyone here gets the care that they need, when and where they need it.  Whilst that seems a simple idea, there are huge constraints on the resources we can call on, and here we face particular challenges with our rural and hard to reach location. However, our vision and our strong position in the community enables us to work closely with other local agencies and projects to make a real difference to people’s quality of life.”

More About NEDCare

NEDCare CIC was incorporated on 16 May 2015 by residents of north east Dartmoor keen to make a positive difference to the state of social care locally.  It is a domiciliary care agency, which is registered with and regulated by the Care Quality Commission.  NEDCare is also working with entrepreneurs from other parts of the South West to help them establish their own carer introduction services.

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