Piloting co-operative care in London: the journey so far
We’re roughly half way through our LOTI funded pilot to create a co-operative care service in London. We have achieved a lot, learned much, and faced challenges that are shaping how we approach our mission of delivering care in abundance.
To catch you up, this project is a collaboration between Clapton Commons and Equal Care to create the Clapton Care Commons, a hyper local domicillary care co-op in Hackney. Equal Care has been operating successfully with an innovative member owned care model in Yorkshire for a number of years, working with local anchor organisations, to co-found care circles which are deeply embedded in the communities in which they work.
The LOTI grant has given us the opportunity to pilot this model in Hackney, providing a sandbox to test our methods and approach, adapting them for the needs of the local community and local authority, and so creating a template and resources for new co-operative care organisations to begin their journey across London.
Here’s a quick update on our progress so far:
- We are building teams after extensive community organising, mapping the local care landscape and trust building in the Clapton Common neighbourhoods and diverse communities.
- This allows us to tap into community resources, while raising awareness of the roles individuals and groups play in the network.
- We are recruiting from various community groups and facilitating matches based on more than just availability.
- We are providing care within the community, not just to it, raising the awareness of current local community providers who remain largely unseen.
- Through collaborations with various local organisations and individuals, we’ve integrated into the care and support network, forming the Clapton Care Circle.
- We are offering both employed and self-employed opportunities for workers, with distinct benefits beyond working with a traditional homecare agency, including better working conditions, a rebalanced and equal power dynamic, ownership of the company they work for, hyper-local autonomy and increased pay to the London Living Wage level and beyond.
- While the process of team-building presents challenges due to low expectations and trust issues with authorities, we’ve recruited a community organiser from Clapton Commons to support genuine co-production efforts.
We are already making a difference in the lives of people in Clapton, and our goal is to become sustainable beyond the pilot phase, growing the circle in Clapton and founding care co-ops in many more London boroughs.
Find out more about our journey on Equal Care’s blog.