Care4Care was a membership organisation where members spent a few hours a week supporting an older person in their local community – in return building up their own ‘care pension’.
The idea was to provide support for older people through a system of exchange: members would support an older person now in return for being supported later in life.
Time spent helping an older person earned an equivalent time credit (calculated in 15 minute segments). So for example, a member spending 45 minutes making breakfast for their neighbour would earn a credit of 45 minutes which would be recorded for future use; members in effect built up a ‘care pension’ for their own old age.
Care4Care was a collaboration between Professor Heinz Wolff, The Young Foundation and Age UK, Isle of Wight. The venture was designed to tackle the national crisis in support and care facing the UK’s ageing population.
Despite early signs of promise and a successful trial on the Isle of Wight, the venture did not prove to be sustainable or scalable long-term, and Care4Care is unfortunately no longer running.
You can read about the challenges faced by Care4Care, the lessons learned from the project and insights into what type of ‘reciprocal timebanking’ service could be more effective in this space here: http://reciprocaltimebanking.wordpress.com/
Award and follow-on funding
Care4Care was awarded £47,000 in the first round of the Innovation in Giving Fund to support, develop and test some of its early assumptions and to prototype the model on the Isle of Wight with Age UK. Over the course of the initial pilot, Care4Care gained 300 members, who banked more than 14,000 hours.
Following the pilot, Care4Care was awarded £250,000 to develop national infrastructure to scale the concept, including increasing the capacity of the team and supporting further pilots across the UK. The first £80,000 of this was paid for initial successful activity but when the venture began to falter no further milestones were paid and the grant was rescinded. A further £23,069 was repaid in November 2013.
You can read more about Nesta’s Innovation Lab (which manages the Innovation in Giving Fund) and the key lessons learned about making better funding decisions when backing innovations, here: How to run a Lab: making better funding decisions.