The travel company Impala and the carer support charity Carefree have worked side-by-side to create a low-touch, high-impact tech solution for converting one million hotel rooms left unsold in the UK each week into short breaks for unpaid carers.
The care sector relies on unpaid carers to continue providing 80 per cent of home care, valued at £193bn a year – more than the entire NHS budget. With 74 per cent of carers facing burnout since the pandemic began, and 64 per cent unable to take any breaks at all, this innovation comes at a crucial time for the social care sector.
Since completing the six-month API build in November 2021 to connect Carefree's booking hub with Impala's universal API for room distribution, 81 hotels across the UK have agreed to release about 2,000 rooms a month to the charity.
More than 900 hotel nights have been booked by carers so far, who have scored the booking hub nine out of 10 for ease of use in their feedback.
The impact of the innovation has been immediate, with 89 per cent of users reporting that they could not have taken a break without it, and 95 per cent seeing an improvement in their wellbeing.
Macmillan Cancer Support and Farewill