Authorities across the South West are supporting a campaign launched this week that raises the profile of care and the positive role of care workers in a drive to recruit the right people to the sector.
Care providers across the country often experience difficulties in recruiting, which in turn affects the availability of care to people who could be living independently at home, or in care homes.
It's a challenge that local authorities want to address by making people aware of how rewarding and worthwhile care work is as career choice, and encouraging the positive image that care deserves.
Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole are joining with 13 other local authorities across the South West, and Health Education England to support the campaign, establishing for the first time a regional approach to raising the profile of care.
An especially inspiring element to the campaign is the first-hand personal accounts from real care and support workers, who talk passionately about their love for care work.
The campaign website www.proudtocaresw.org.uk features interviews with care and support workers, and links to recruitment portals where care providers across the region advertise their vacancies.
The campaign wants to reach all potential care workers, but is specifically targeting key audiences including younger people and those who have studied for a health and social care qualification; parents considering a return to work; people aged 50 plus who, with more life experience might want to give something back to their community; and students seeking employment over holiday periods.
It's also gained national support from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care, Skills for Care and Skills for Health.
Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Care, Jill Haynes said: "We want the incredible people who work in the care sector to feel proud of their vocation and for others to see it as an enormously rewarding area of work that they can become involved in.
"We want people to see that it has great career prospects, with many opportunities for progression in care and health.”
Councillor Karen Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care, Borough of Poole, said: “Professional care workers are often sadly undervalued and their contribution to the care sector underestimated.
”By joining our partners in the Proud to Care campaign we’re waving the flag for our care workers and highlighting the crucial role they play in empowering our residents to live with dignity and independence.”
Cllr Blair Crawford, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care, at Bournemouth, said: “It is all too often the case that professional care workers are ignored or taken for granted yet their contribution cannot be underestimated.
“We want to champion them, make them feel proud and demonstrate just how care professionals are vital in enabling residents to live independent lives in their own homes for longer.”