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Our commitment

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

As employers:

  • We will be a carer friendly employer.
  • We will do all we can to support people with caring responsibilities who work for us by making our policies carer friendly.
  • We will ensure people can work flexibly to fit paid work around unpaid caring responsibilities.
  • We will provide platforms and support for those who are carers to tell their stories, and to tell us what more 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 Places” toilets in any new buildings that are open to the public and look to retrofit existing public spaces.

In the homes we provide:

  • We will build more fully accessible homes.
  • We will routinely consider accessibility when developing new homes and within our existing stock.
  • We will consider our housing management policies and how they impact on disabled residents and their carers.
  • We will collect insight data including information on disabled residents and residents that are carers, with the aim of providing services that can support them.

For our paid Carers:

  • We will work with partners to professionalise care further with clear qualifications and career paths.
  • We will promote care as a valued career choice.
  • We will lobby for changes in pay and rewards for carers.