'Time for Me' platform launched in Birmingham

5. June 2015 Laura Bimpson

PCG Care Solutions has launched the first eMarketplace which is specifically aimed at carers and meeting their ‘wellbeing’ needs.

The ‘Time for Me’ platform was commissioned by Forward Carers, a consortium of organisations working together as Birmingham Carers Hub.

One in eight people care for a loved one or dependent and there are more than 107,000 carers in Birmingham alone. Numbers are expected to grow resulting in people juggling care, work, family and their social lives.

‘Time for Me’ enables carers in the area to apply online to receive ‘wellbeing’ vouchers which they are then able to spend via the eMarketplace on some ‘me-time’ away from the often stressful and draining role of caring.

This is an innovative new approach, in contrast to other carer small grant schemes that often rely on a lengthy postal applications and are resource-intensive to administer. With this new approach, data on what carers want to spend their voucher on; how they rate services and products; and the impact on quality of life can be easily tracked.

The listings on the eMarketplace include day trips and short breaks, pamper sessions, relaxation breaks, home help – including handyman and gardening services, access to leisure activities, sitting services and complementary therapies.

PCG Care Solutions is currently working with Forward Carers to actively expand the eMarketplace to ensure a good range of quality assured services and activities are on offer for people to choose from.

“We understand the amazing job our city’s carers do every day but there was little knowledge and data on what carers wanted to spend their grants on and whether the grant was making any difference to them. In partnership with Birmingham City Council we have a designed and implemented a truly great platform for carers.

“Through ‘Time for Me’ we are now providing a range of wellbeing packages to help keep carers feeling healthy and well and ensure they are able to take that much needed time about from caring to recharge and refresh. These packages have been put together in consultation with carers themselves,” said Simon Fenton, CEO of Forward Carers.

To apply for a voucher, carers now need to complete a simple online registration form confirming they meet the eligibility criteria and this is then reviewed by the Carers Hub team. Once carers are notified of their successful application, they are then able to redeem their vouchers online.

David Bowes, Managing Director of PCG Care Solutions added: “Working with Forward Carers to create the ‘Time for me’ platform supports Birmingham City Council in meeting its new duties under the Care Act to promote positive wellbeing for carers, as well as providing a much more cost effective and simpler solution for the management of these grants.”

The ‘Time for Me’ platform is integrated within the Birmingham Carers Hub website which also includes a wealth of information and advice for carers.