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 Oliver’s story reveals both the personal heartache and frustration that comes from workforce gaps, but moreover, the ways that innovative and impactful work by social care providers is constrained by a lack of capacity. His role, like so many in social care, is clearly value generating – supporting people to live healthier and more independent lives ultimately reduces healthcare consumption and increases productivity. Yet with constant gaps, the social care sector cannot deliver its fullest impact to society.
Of course, we cannot overlook the impact of the current system on family carers – both those who feel the impact of lack of support provision, and those who feel the constant pressures of turbulent support in the lives of their loved ones.
Around 80% of family carers state that they feel lonely and isolated, and a further 72% say that their responsibilities have impacted their mental health (Carers UK)30. The personal toll of the social care pay gap is felt far and wide.
Oliver Thomason’s story encapsulates many of the problems that exist within the social care workforce.
Oliver (pictured above) is employed by Community Integrated Care to help mentor and support other disabled people
to access sport and other community initiatives. He is passionate about his job which promotes physical activity and social connection – key to reducing the inequalities
that see people who have learning disabilities lead lives that are 14 -18 years shorter than the general population.
Oliver is part of a team developing new models of physical activity that have a seven-figure social return on investment. He works with many world-class organisations, like leading Premier League football clubs and the Rugby Football League. His role is exciting, diverse and impactful – yet despite this, he could not recruit a consistent Support Worker to join him in his fun and rewarding role.
“I have a learning disability, so I need someone to support me to work. I have a very important job role as Community Integrated Care’s Sports Inclusion Coordinator. In this
job role, I have helped hundreds of disabled people to become more active, make friends and volunteer in sport. These projects have a huge impact on people’s health, wellbeing and happiness, so my role is very important.
It took more than 18 months, though, for me to recruit a Support Worker. This held me back from doing
all the work that I could have done and meant that
I couldn’t make the difference to as many people
as I wanted. It was really frustrating and stressful. I found it hard getting used to working with people, or having moments when I was unsupported.
There is a recruitment crisis in social care and I know that lots of other people cannot find a regular Support Worker to help them. I am lucky because I have a close family and people to support me, and I am very independent. For other people though, this means that their lives are limited and they experience the stress of not getting the support they need.
I know that social care needs more money to be able to pay people fairly. We see people leaving social care to choose better paying jobs, like with Amazon or supermarkets. This has a big impact on people’s lives and it needs to change.
We need politicians to understand these problems and look at how they can help disabled people
to find the support that they need.”
 30. Carers UK State of Caring Survey 2018 31

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