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Charity start-up rallies hotels to provide respite to unpaid carers

Lamprey Court Hotel

Five of the UK’s largest independent hotel chains have stepped forward to join charity start-up, Carefree, in its mission to provide every full-time unpaid carer with access to an annual break.

Hotel partners, including Bespoke Hotels, Cycas Hospitality, Sleeperz, The QHotels Collection and Village Hotels, have pledged to donate a portion of their unsold rooms to the charity on a rolling basis, becoming a ‘Carefree Breakmaker’.

Carefree is a charity start-up on a mission to transform vacant accommodation into breaks for full-time unpaid carers. There are an estimated 8.8 million unpaid carers in the UK who provide 80% of home care, according to Carers UK, yet they lack access to the same support as NHS staff or paid care home workers.

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In a joint statement, the hotel partners said: “Through the pandemic, unpaid carers worked tirelessly to provide the invisible backbone of our health and social care system and they need time off. Together we can change how our society reinvests in the people that look after our most vulnerable.”

According to State of Caring 2021 report released by Carers UK earlier this month, unpaid carers saved the UK economy £193 billion a year during the pandemic – outstripping the cost of the NHS. Carefree aims to provide support for the carers who are at risk of burn out, by offering a simple way to help them re-charge so they can continue their vital role.

Of carers using Carefree, 92% reported that they couldn’t have accessed a break without the charity’s support, which aims to deliver 4,000 breaks by early 2022 and mobilise tens of thousands more as new hospitality partners join.

Carefree CEO, Charlotte Newman, who believes that designing effective solutions for social care and carers should be a society-wide effort said: “Being able to rest is an essential part of what it means to be human.

“Only through the collective commitment of people, partnerships and technology working together can we build a truly sustainable, national way for carers in need of a break to access time off. Every Carefree Breakmaker, whether they are someone referring a carer, donating a break or providing a part of our tech infrastructure to distribute the stays, is a piece in the puzzle of how we’ll make that possible.”

Robin Sheppard, president of Bespoke Hotels, which has supported the charity since 2018 said: “We always knew that with the right tech solution we could empower the hospitality industry to tackle what has been an entrenched social issue and set a new standard for how unpaid carers are recognised and supported to carry out their hugely difficult role.”

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels.

Tags : breaksrespiteunpaid carers
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke