Find care and support

Our ability to connect you with somebody wonderful depends on where you live and what you want.

We are currently offering support in Calderdale in West Yorkshire and starting to give support in Clapton, Hackney in London.
We'll be working in other local authority areas as we grow.​ 
Older woman reviewing Equal Care Co-op on her computer

frequently asked questions

How does it work?

Once we hear from you, we will give you a call or use your preferred communication method to understand your situation in more detail and let you know whether or not we'll be able to support you. We'll then arrange a visit from one of our Team Starters. They'll meet with you and anyone else you'd like to be present to have a conversation - they'll ask about what you'd like from the support and what's important to you. You'll find out more about how we work, the care and support workers available to join your team and we'll tell you about any volunteer support we're able to connect you with too.

What's a Team?

Equal Care Teams are special. The person getting support is the person who owns (and in many cases, leads) their Team. It is up to them who is in the team and what team members can do. It's their team, so family members, friends, neighbours, health and social care professionals, other agency staff and so on can join if that person would like this! If they are too unwell to get very involved or would prefer not to for any reason, they can choose a family member or friend or an existing member of their team to help them. Every team has a Team Starter to support them with building their team and your Local Circle is there for problem-solving and checking in to see how things are going. 

Why are you different?

We are a co-operative, owned by the people who give and receive support. We are using technology to ensure much more of the hourly rate can go direct to workers and ensure they are paid their wage during times when they are working but not directly caring. Receiving care and support all the time can actually make people more unwell, so we help the people getting support to share their skills, experience and kindness with others who will benefit. By working in Teams owned by the person getting support, this creates resilient, committed, consistent support. This is a far cry from being placed at the mercy of ever-changing rotas. People get to know one another, likes, dislikes, what works, what doesn't. It is a truly lovely experience to choose and build your own Team :)

How much does it cost and how much do you pay your support workers?

Our rates vary from £20 to £25 an hour, depending on the rates charged by your independent care and support worker. Everyone offering support through us chooses whether to work independently or be employed by Equal Care. In order to run the platform and ensure we are curating trusted offers of support, we ask for a co-operative contribution of 15% of every hour of support paid for and a contribution from workers of 5% of their fee. This is much, much lower than traditional agencies (typically 50%). Our independent workers tend to get between ££15-£20 per hour and our employed workers are paid a salary at the Real Living Wage of £21,255 per year for a full-time role. The fee is a contribution to enable the co-op to sustain itself, not an exercise in maximising profit. 

Do I have to join the co-operative in order to get support?

No, joining the co-operative as a Member is entirely voluntary and you are not restricted from getting support if you choose not to become a Member. You can find out more about membership here.

Do you provide a care and support service?

Yes, we do. We are a regulated provider of support which means we can help with support planning changes and review and monitor any personal care you are getting. We take a facilitative approach to your support - it's your choices that come first, including who you feel is best placed to support you. Caregiving relationships count and by paying attention to the quality of the relationship, much better support ensues!

Do you put care workers on zero hour contracts?

Absolutely not. Currently, all care and support workers are independent or employed on a salaried basis. Our independent workers have full control over their hours, their fees and who they work with. Our employment contracts are based on a contracted hour job with some requirements around the number of caregiving hours each person does, depending on their contract. They are paid for all the work they do, not just when they're giving care and support. We strongly disapprove of the widespread practice of offering zero hour contracts, which can easily result in poor pay and appalling working conditions for care workers. So we don't offer them.

Do I have to sign a contract?

Yes, we ask you to agree to our Getting Support Promise and you may also choose to make individual agreements between you and members of your Team. We help you with this.

How do I know I'll get a good support worker?

Our care and support workers go through a full vetting and selection process, which involves an identity, Disclosure and Barring Service check, references and qualifications check, application form and face-to-face interview. Both of you will be able to have a trial period before committing to regular support. Regardless of whether people are working independently or employed, they all go through the same selection process and criteria. People getting support and family members sit on our interview panels.

What if there's an issue?

Your Team Members, Local Circle members and Equal Care Coach (usually the Registered Manager for CQC purposes) are there to facilitate the relationships you have with those supporting you. This includes unpaid relationships too, like family members and volunteers. They are there to help you work through any issues - often, 95% of problems can be worked out with good, open communication and kind, open discussion. If things really aren't working out, you can decide to choose someone else to support you. We have a Problem-solving Policy, which sets this out in more detail.

Will you help me find the right support?

Yes! We can help you find the right person to support you. We look at your support in a holistic way, including family, volunteers and neighbours in your team. This might mean finding a paid person or people to support you directly or course but it may also include other help, including for family members who are very involved in supporting you. We focus on the supportive relationships in your life (no matter who is doing the giving or who is doing the receiving) and we see our role as helping these to be the best they can be.