Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Plans to set up co-operative scheme for social care

An old lady getting a cup of tea from a carer
Image caption The co-operative would give people control of their own care

A former social worker from South Yorkshire is hoping to start a co-operative for people needing social care due to a disability or old age.

Derek Eastham developed the idea when he realised that many people do not plan for their future care needs.

People who pay into the scheme would become a member and be able to buy in care services from the co-operative.

Mr Eastham said: "People would have control and influence over who supports them."

The co-operative would provide help for people in their own homes, but not nursing care, and it would work in partnership with existing care providers.

'Meets your needs'

Staff working for the scheme would also be members.

Mr Eastham said: "I think planning for our own old age is a bit like talking about death - it is something we would rather not think about so we don't plan it at all."

The scheme has 70 members already, including social workers and a lecturer in social care at Sheffield Hallam University, and organisers are looking for more people to get involved.

Social care is already means-tested so people already have to pay for their own care, but this scheme would mean members would "own and have more control over what services they need".

Tom Whittaker, secretary of Co-operative Support, said: "If the money for your care comes from the local authority or the NHS you can use that money in a creative flexible way within the co-operative and come up with a package that meets your needs."

The scheme has set up a development group to look at how the co-operative would operate and how to get funding.

It is hoped that the scheme will be up and running within a year.