Harry’s Pledge – we’re proud to care
As a sector, we are proud to care. From providing specialist care and support to offering care services to people living in general needs properties, we are committed to caring for our communities.
As organisations, we aspire to provide a supportive and caring work environment where people can flourish. With a changing demography we know there will be increased demand for this in future but now, more than ever, the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the vital work that carers do.
It has also shown very clearly that as a society, we do not value carers, both paid and unpaid, enough. Clapping weekly to celebrate their work is a fantastic show of solidarity and thanks, but it must be followed by changes in public policy for those who provide care.
The impact of coronavirus has forced us, as leaders in social housing, to ask ourselves some difficult questions.
Are we really doing all we can to support staff who are also carers? Are we building homes fit for people who need high levels of care, or routinely designing better accessibility standards in our general needs properties? Are we showing our frontline carers that we appreciate them enough?
If we’re honest, some of our responses to these questions make us uncomfortable. We aren’t doing enough. We can do more.
That is why we’ve joined together as housing association CEOs, proud CIH, National Housing Federation and PlaceShaper members, with the support of Inside Housing and our founding partner Harry’s Pals, to make a renewed commitment to carers, called Harry’s Pledge.
Harry’s Pals is a trust that supports parents caring for children with disabilities by providing a counselling service. Run by Hayley Charlesworth, whose five-year-old son Harry has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, the trust is working with the housing sector to improve the lives of disabled people and carers.
We define a carer as someone who cares for someone with physical or mental health needs.
We are asking social landlords to sign up to and support Harry’s Pledge, which focuses on four key areas to ensure that we honour and support those who need care and those who provide it, as we rebuild our organisations and our society.
You can show your commitment to carers by signing up to Harry’s Pledge
We will be a carer friendly employer, doing all we can to support people with caring responsibilities to work for us by making our policies carer-friendly, ensuring they can work flexibly and fit paid work around unpaid caring work. We will provide platforms and support for carers to tell their stories, and to tell us what they need from us as employers and housing providers.
In our workspaces
We will make the offices and community spaces we offer as accessible as possible.
For example, we will install ‘Changing Place’ toilets in any new offices that are open to the public and also look to retrofit existing spaces.
In the homes we build
We will build more fully accessible homes. We will routinely consider accessibility in our general needs stock and how more of the homes we build can be adapted for disabled people.
Training & career progression
We will work with partners to professionalise care further with clear qualifications/career paths, working to promote it as a valued career choice and lobbying for changes in pay and rewards.