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We were pleased to welcome BBC journalist Dan O’Brien on Tuesday in our office at Bradford-on-Avon. He interviewed our Management; he met some of our lovely clients; I met him later on and had an interview with him too.

We are grateful to Dan for taking the time to come and see us and support Social Care by telling our story   ‘our truth’!

For those of you who have read my previous blog entries, you will know that I avoid using the term ‘Care in Crisis ‘! I prefer to describe us as ‘Care in Limbo ‘  because we are!  What direction will we take ongoing? What can we do to attract new people into our Sector? What will our government do to help our situation? Questions!

It occurred to me during my interview with Dan that our future comes down to two things, BRANDING and IMAGE. We have no control over anything else.

There is so much negative press out there; when you hear journalists talking about and having opinions about Care, they all recognise the dire situation of our Sector, and how the lack of Social Care staff has an impact on the NHS and Ambulance Service. It is ironic that in their acknowledgment that something urgent needs to happen to improve our numbers,  they never talk positively about us, they only talk about the negative stuff which is all the general public will hear. Not helpful! I am not sure they realise how their comments can potentially damage our Sector rather than help it.

FACT….we do get paid for travelling time and petrol.

FACT….we offer flexible contracts. A Carer can work as little or as much as suits them.

FACT….we provided excellent training and support.

FACT…. we support individuals to continue their education.

FACT….our Clients afford our carers a huge variety of experiences during their working day.  We are a wonderful pathway of experience to other Professions…in the NHS for example.

FACT….there is a career to be had in the Care Sector for anyone who wants to explore that.

The biggest FACT of all is that our Communities desperately need more of us.

A question Dan O’Brien asked some of our clients was “who looked after your elderly and vulnerable when you were younger.  Did anyone think about working in care?”.  Their responses were the same; ‘there were no Carers. Communities were close back then and they all looked out for each other. We looked after our own family members and neighbours’.

Is this a place in time we are going to have to return to?

Are our communities close enough that our vulnerable can rely on them to help and support them;  to check on them, to shop and cook for them? To look out for their welfare?

Do people have the time or inclination to care for their own family members ongoing? To commit to their care?

Is it possible that we could return to those support networks on the doorstep?

I think the answer is no! So what happens to our elderly and vulnerable ongoing?

I described us way back as A Secret Army living in the shadows.  You only notice us when you need us.

Well, we are an amazing Army! All around the country we serve you!

Here at Abicare, we are FLYING THE FLAG FOR CARE. We are fighting for our Sector because we care about our community and we care about our colleagues and their communities all over the country.  We will continue to write and talk with our MPs, and relevant Secretaries of State; Council Authorities, TV and radio, and newspapers.  No one escapes us! For every door that closes we try again and again! Eventually, they will listen, and eventually, we will make a difference.  We won’t give up.

Our communities are worth fighting for. They need us because we can’t roll back time. People’s lifestyles are different now. I doubt most people know more than half a dozen people in their road. Would they ever think to knock on doors to check on neighbours regularly? Families are spread out now. They don’t live on the doorsteps of their elderly.  Women’s roles have changed. They lead independent lives now. They would have been caregivers in the past.

We are soon to turn the page on another year and welcome in 2023.

The public is generous when Children in Need or Comic Relief need their money.

We are asking for your time and we will pay you!  Perhaps this year your generosity can be directed to your town, to your road, to your neighbour, to your community.

Abicare will welcome you.  Other agencies will welcome you. Ask questions, and do your research, but don’t ignore us,  please 🙏 .

Give us HOPE that in 2023 we can offer more vulnerable people the support and care that they desperately need, that they are waiting for,  that they are HOPING  for.

Thank you!