The Department of Health and Social Care has today release details of the £5 million Carers Innovation Fund which will invest in innovative ways of supporting unpaid carers, outside of mainstream health and care services.
This funding will be used to improve support across the country and help build more carer-friendly communities.
Examples of the kind of projects the fund would invest in include:
- technology platforms – for example, to help carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities
- support groups – like carers’ cafes and Men’s Sheds, which develop peer support groups and offer short courses to help reduce isolation
Projects will be expected to show a positive effect on:
- carers’ health and wellbeing
- carers’ ability to manage work alongside caring responsibilities
- carers’ ability to take a break from their caring role
- reducing loneliness and social isolation
Applicants will need to demonstrate their idea is a fresh approach that is better than existing provision, will benefit the local community and can be expanded and replicated.
The voluntary sector, charities, SMEs and commercial organisations can all bid for funding to prove their concept, with the aim of securing longer term funding from other sources.
Carers and other experts will sit on the evaluation panel to make sure proposals are feasible.
The fund was first announced last year as part of the Carers Action Plan, a cross-government programme of targeted work to support unpaid carers over the next 2 years. Initially the fund was worth half a million pounds. However, funding was later increased to £5 million.
The NHS is also working to better identify and support carers across England, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.