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EXCLUSIVE: The real story behind the idea for a CARE badge

Martin Green and Robin Batchelor

In March 2019, two social care organisations came up with a novel way to recognise the 8.6 million paid and informal carers in the UK, giving them a means to express their solidarity and a sense of pride in what they do.

The initiative was simple – a badge that can be worn by those engaged in and supporting the care sector, much like the well-recognised NHS badge.

Fast forward one year, more than 100,000 badges have been sold, and during Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing, Matt Hancock hailed the emblem as a “badge of honour”.

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So what was the true inspiration behind the launch for a CARE badge? HCI spoke to founding members, everyLIFE Technologies and Care England, back in June to find out…

I shall look forward to seeing Matt Hancock wearing the CARE badge alongside his NHS badge – Care England CEO Martin Green (June 2019)

Interview from June 2019

The idea for the CARE badge came about when everyLIFE chairman Robin Batchelor was listening to a talk by Care England CEO Professor Martin Green at the Future of Care conference in March.

At the end of the talk, Green spoke about the unfortunate message that the Secretary of State for Social Care, Matt Hancock, inadvertently sends to those involved in care by only wearing the NHS lapel badge.

“I turned to my colleague from everyLIFE and said ‘we should work with Care England to change that’,” says Batchelor. “I caught up with Martin after that and his immediate reaction was ‘yes, this makes sense’. The sector needs a unifying symbol of pride and quality and care and it was relatively easy to do.”

The founding partners have started a company called The CARE Badge Community Interest Company (CIC) to buy the badges from the manufacturer and sell them to care providers and employers that interact with un-paid carers, with all profits going to charities selected by care workers.

“This could be supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, insurers of care homes or pharmacies. If you have 7 million unpaid carers and 1.6m paid care workers, that’s 13% of the UK population,” says Batchelor.

“Any large employer is going to have carers in their company and this is way for them to say ‘we recognise some of the pressure you are under and we support you’.”

Backing the project, Green says: “There’s been a real desire to see this in the care sector. We need to have something that unifies us. Robin has been amazing. It took him about a fortnight to deliver this from having the idea. That can-do attitude has been the thing that’s driven this and also the enthusiasm of the sector to have this and say we support it. I have been talking to organisations such as the National Care Forum and they are all very supportive of this.

“Robin wanted this badge to be the same quality as the NHS badge. The policy agenda says we have joined up [with the health sector], but I have seen little evidence of it. This is a way of showing that people should take pride in being care workers, as well as being health workers.”

everyLIFE is managing the project and funding an initial stock of 10,000 badges while Care England, a representative body for independent care services in England, is hoping to encourage members of Parliament associated with care, local authorities and directors at the Care Quality Commission to wear and promote the CARE badge.

“I am going to talk to government about it,” says Green. “I am hoping to get the Care Minister to tweet a photo of her wearing the badge. My plan is to make sure that everyone on a Select Committee or an all-party group that deals with care gets a badge. Likewise, politicians from the opposition and people in the Lords who have a really big interest in care. I think we can get some good political traction and it will be cross party because everybody is committed to supporting the care that people need in society. I shall look forward to seeing Matt Hancock wearing it alongside his NHS badge.

“I think we will also get some good responses from local authorities because they are very committed to care. I am sure they will see this is a good way of championing social care. And we will be having some really clear discussions with CQC. It’s brilliantly timed because we have the new Chief Inspector [Kate Terroni] coming in. I am sure that she will endorse this.”

Batchelor adds: “This is about the care sector and the fact that it impacts so many people. You have 13% of the population providing care, and they are providing it to at least one person every day. This is a significant part of the UK’s population and we want to recognise that and everyone to understand that it matters and give it a little bit of raised esteem and a bit more pride. If you wear a CARE badge it says you are proud to be part of the sector and with that pride comes quality care.”

Employers can buy CARE badges from www.thecarebadge.org and as the campaign rolls forward, care professionals will be encouraged to post pictures of themselves wearing the badge, along with stories about what the badge means to them, on social media.

“We have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and we will have people publishing pictures showing how they care and explaining what it means for them. That will come from corporate to care workers, unpaid carers to families of care,” says Batchelor.

The aim of the campaign is to start conversations, explains Batchelor. “If you are walking down the street and you see someone wearing the badge you now know that they are related to care and you can ask them what that means to them. You may be working your socks off caring for somebody and not having anyone to talk to and feeling a bit lonely. It starts to create that group feeling of belonging to something and allows a little bit of pride to come back into the sector,” he says.

Caption: Care Badge founding partners Robin Batchelor (L) and Martin Green.

Tags : Care BadgeCare EnglandeveryLIFE TechnologiesMartin GreenRobin Batchelor
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

10 Comments

  1. Wow, fantastic idea! It’s a bit of a shame that small start-up care businesses like ours on very tight budgets are locked out at present from getting these badges for our workers. Does this mean we don’t value our carers? Of course not but making the minimum order of 100 badges when we have 6 carers is a little unfair. I guess we would have to wait until June? Or perhaps we could just design our own….thoughts?

  2. Price includes VAT. The tax man should be waiving that as it is for charity allegedly. Having to buy 100 at a time is restrictive and not really supportive of thousands of Care companies employing small numbers of staff. It does feel more like a business initiative than anything if real substance. It needs a rethink, to be cheaper and available in smaller quantities.

  3. Just tried to order the badges, so my PA’s can wear them and feel proud of the work they are doing now and when this is over – but the site says ‘Due to changing circumstances, the CARE badge CIC is not able to accept new orders at this time’ which sort of goes against what was said yesterday! Everything is out of stock – PPE and even the Care Badge – its like banging your head against a brick wall sometimes.

  4. Hancock and Johnson really do believe they can do anything and folk will still think they are top blokes. What an absolute kick in the face for all frontline workers. Give yourself 10k to work at home and sell, yes SELL badges to frontline workers. At what point do nurses, carers, Dr’s etc get what they really deserve?

  5. In 2015 Carers UK reported that friends and family carers saved the government over £15Billion. Yet, assuming they are eligible, on average those carers are “paid” £66 a week carers allowance.

    They don’t have employers to give them badges, nor are what few local support organisations there are, likely to be willing to spend 120 quid on a box. So yet again this group of carers gets to feel even more devalued and ignored than usual.

  6. It is currently impossible to buy care badges. There is a reference to the fact that distribution has been taken over by Department of Health & Social & nothing else. I can’t find anything saying when they will be available again.

    1. Hi Julie, the DHSC has indeed taken over the distribution and we’re trying to get some clarification as to what’s going on as we have received several messages like this. Will try and update you asap. Best wishes, Sarah (editor)

      1. We have received this comment from the DHSC. I hope this helps: “There is currently a brief transition period ongoing between everyLIFE Technologies Limited and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to transfer ownership of the intellectual property.

        “To prevent the possible inconsistent use of both CARE brand and information about their use, we have halted issuing badges until these new details are finalised.

        “There has previously not been a clear and visual inclusive brand for the adult social care sector, contrasting with the strong and recognisable NHS brand.

        “This was a direct ask from the sector, and developed in close consultation with everyLIFE Technologies, Care England and the National Care Forum and will recognise the integral role care workers are playing in responding to this outbreak and supporting the vulnerable.”

    1. Hi Dawn,

      I’m afraid the badges are unavailable at the moment. We have received this comment from the DHSC. I hope this helps: “There is currently a brief transition period ongoing between everyLIFE Technologies Limited and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to transfer ownership of the intellectual property.

      “To prevent the possible inconsistent use of both CARE brand and information about their use, we have halted issuing badges until these new details are finalised.

      “There has previously not been a clear and visual inclusive brand for the adult social care sector, contrasting with the strong and recognisable NHS brand.

      “This was a direct ask from the sector, and developed in close consultation with everyLIFE Technologies, Care England and the National Care Forum and will recognise the integral role care workers are playing in responding to this outbreak and supporting the vulnerable.”

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