Equal Care Co-op are building a new, co-owned social care platform that puts care givers and receivers in charge.
By incorporating as a multi-stakeholder co-operative, their digital product and accompanying service is owned by and accountable to the communities using and sustaining it. They arrived at the platform co-op model as a response to systemic inequities within the social care system, seeing it as a practical route to centering choice, power and ownership with the two most important people in care – the person giving and the person getting support.
The model involves ensuring that front-line care workers are paid as much as possible within existing market rates and Equal Care Co-op have set a target of a minimum wage of £20,000 per annum for new care workers (equivalent to 25% above general industry average), achieved via platform efficiencies and the co-operative and self-management approach.
With the support they have received to date, they are starting to run a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with a small group of care workers and receivers and have conducted feasibility analyses and user research, focusing on a pilot area of the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. However, they are now working towards an offer of withdrawable shares to raise the seed investment they need to build their technology and fund the development of community-led neighbourhood care in other areas.