Page 36 - Unfair To Care 2024 - Who Cares Wins
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Alternative Futures Group is one of the largest health and social care charities in the North West. It employs around 1,800 frontline workers, providing specialist support for around 900 people with a learning disability or mental health condition.
Like many other social care providers, it has become increasingly concerned by the growing pressures of low pay and soaring living costs on its colleagues. So for the second year running, they have included questions in their annual staff survey gauging the impact that the cost-of-living and low
pay crisis is having on its workforce.
Last year’s results were alarming and, this year, the situation has only got worse.
Of the 78% of colleagues who responded to the survey (1,412), almost three quarters (72%) said their money ran out before payday and more than half (52%) resorted to using credit cards or borrowing to cover everyday living expenses such as food and bills. Worryingly, nearly a fifth of those who responded shared that they found themselves drawing on the support of a local food bank to get by.
To try and help alleviate their situation, 57% were regularly having to do overtime to top up their salary, with
18% taking on a second job to make ends meet.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, but no less concerning, nearly 10% of colleagues reported having to
take time off work due to the impact on their mental health caused by financial worry and 40% of colleagues are considering leaving the charity to find different, and better-paying, roles.
And Alternative Futures Group is not unique. These results reflect a similar picture from providers across the social care sector, with people leaving jobs they love because of the crisis.
These issues have resulted in the accelerated growth of unfilled vacancies in the sector – from 112,000 in 2021 to 152,000 by October 2023. Without decisive government investment to enable care providers to offer fair pay, the social care vacancy rate will continue to be unmanageable.
Used with the kind permission of Alternative Futures Group

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