Chair’s Report

By Lance Gardner

I am extremely proud to have been the Chair of Be Caring over the last three and a half years, never more so than now.

The arrival of a global pandemic to our usual programme of care, alongside the vast array of social, physical and mental challenges that came with it, meant a hugely challenging bigger picture quickly emerged and I am particularly proud of the way we responded to it.  Many social care organisations have really struggled in the last twelve months, and whilst we have faced our own struggles, I believe we have come out of the last year a better organisation.

Through responsiveness and innovative thinking, Be Caring was able to rapidly react without compromising the high-quality care we strive to deliver. This was most apparent in our effective communication, standard of support and the flexibility of our workforce throughout COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, Be Caring responded proactively and effectively on many levels – ensuring the availability of resources, while delivering new, enhanced levels of safety and protection, but most importantly keeping people safe.

Although recent reports conclude social care provision was poorly served by central government during the pandemic; Be Caring greatly appreciated the tireless efforts of the local authorities to protect the people they commissioned services for. By adapting funding models to reflect the changing circumstances, they allowed Be Caring to also adapt to meet the changing needs and wishes of those we care for.  

I believe the government does not pay a fair price for care and whilst we pay well compared to many competitors and are looking at offering guaranteed hours, it is our social enterprise model that allows us to reinvest back into the business, ensuring it’s invested in training and invested in getting the right people.

Across the country, too many elderly people sadly suffered the fear and risk of this often-fatal illness without the physical love and care of their families, unable to travel or visit.

"We were determined that none of the people we support would suffer alone."

Many of our staff went the extra mile to befriend, protect and care for the people they visited when families were kept apart.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was at times in short supply. However, the ingenuity and imagination of the senior management team allowed us to source our own supplies reducing dependence on unreliable deliveries from the central government. 

During the year, We cared for more than 2300 people and hundreds of thousands of care hours, of whom only 76 contracted the virus. Sadly, seven passed away. These numbers demonstrate throughout the tens of thousands of care hours, Be Caring’s infection control and PPE policies and procedures were exemplary in protecting the very vulnerable people we care for.

"In addition to the fantastic work of our frontline staff, the outstanding leadership and pastoral care provided by the Senior Management Team undoubtedly made this possible. Huge numbers of hours worked above and beyond ensured that safe and effective care continued to be delivered even in the most challenging circumstances."

2020/21 more than any other year has demonstrated that ‘Be Caring’ isn’t just the name of our company – it’s what we do.  

Many colleagues faced personal tragedy and ill health due to COVID, but they never stopped putting the needs of the people they care for first. As a result, saying ‘Thank You’ feels totally inadequate, but words do not exist to express my gratitude and awe to the amazing people who are ‘Be Caring’.

I can only hope the catastrophe we witnessed during this year is never repeated; but I can guarantee that the exemplary compassion and care delivered by Be Caring will continue for many years to come.