4,000 BREAKS GIFTED TO UNPAID CARERS
CHARITY TECH START-UP MOBILISES £1M OF GIFTED HOTEL ROOMS TO UNPAID CARERS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAREFREE HQ, LONDON
Charity tech start-up Carefree has radically transformed access to short breaks away for unpaid carers all across the UK, who provide 80% of home care in the UK and regularly sacrifice their own health and wellbeing to look after loved ones.
With 8 hotel groups making 1,000-2,000 nights available per month on a rolling basis via Carefree’s platform, the charity has so far connected 4,000 full-time unpaid carers to a 2-night break of their choice valued at £1m. 76% of its service users haven’t taken a break in a year - 42% for more than three years.
The 2021 census found that there are 5.7m unpaid carers in England and Wales, with 1.5m doing over 50 hours of unpaid care work per week. Collectively the unpaid carer community saves the economy £162 billion per year. (Valuing Carers Report, May 2023)
On why a break is so important, Kelly, who took a break at Crewe Hall Hotel and Spa said:
“Just being able to breathe instead of being alert all the time. I was able to eat, sleep and bathe all in one day without having to choose one out the three. I was free.”
Whilst the Carers Leave Act which is due to be enacted in 2024 will introduce a new and flexible entitlement to one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care for a relative or dependant, the is primarily designed to create more space for carers to carry out their caring responsibilities; not time off to look after their own wellbeing.
Carefree reports that 88% of carers that have taken a break using their service, wouldn't have been able to without this initiative. 96% reported an improved wellbeing, 76% said they felt less socially isolated and 85% felt able to cope with their role after taking a Carefree break.
“Preventing burnout of the unpaid carers who hold our healthcare system together needs to be the focus of our collective efforts to bring about a more sustainable social care future.” Said Charlotte Newman, Carefree’s CEO.
“Carefree’s model creates widespread geographic access to a volume supply of overnight breaks never seen in the system before at no additional cost to the public purse. We’re breaking the deadlock on a major social care issue with a small team, on a shoestring budget because we know that enabling others to share their resources more easily is the key to creating scalable impact.”
Nearly 15,000 carers have signed-up or been referred to Carefree by one of its local community partners and it is actively seeking new hotel group partnerships to further expand the scheme.
For more information, please get in touch with the team at Carefree.
Carefree transforms vacant rooms into vital breaks for unpaid carers. The offer is available to full-time unpaid carers (aged over 18, providing 30+ hours of care per week), who can book an annual break for themselves and a companion of 1-2 nights with breakfast included via the Carefree platform for a token admin fee of £25 towards the charity’s operating costs.
Each break has an average commercial rate card value of £250, meaning that the charity has mobilised £1m of gifted accommodation for the social care sector to date.
The charity has had a unique journey since inception in 2017, collaborating with 125 local carer support organisations to refer carers, multiple tech and no-code software companies to provide different parts of Carefree’s online platform, as well as the hotel groups who donate a portion of their excess capacity.
It’s been largely funded by Bailie Gifford, The National Lottery Fund, The Postcode Innovation Trust and The Swire Charitable Trusts and its small team has won multiple awards for its digital and social innovation in both the travel and third sectors.
PARTICIPATING HOTEL GROUPS
Online map of individual hotel properties here: https://breakmakers.carefree.space/dl/d0a5f4
Online map of community referral partners here: https://breakmakers.carefree.space/dl/da19fa
Latest Carefree Impact Report: Jan ‘22 - Jun ‘23: caref.re/3ON1U6Z
Press Kit for Brand Assets/ Images / Team Bios: https://newsroom.carefreespace.org/press-kit
Carer and hotel group case studies available upon request