Innovate to Save puts disabled people in charge of care

The Welsh Government is funding the rolling out of a new social care solution, the first of its kind, in Wales.

It has boosted my confidence and opened up more opportunities for me.

Gary, project participant
  • Disabled people will be able to opt to benefit from shared care and more social opportunities
  • Pioneering solution thanks to £1million ‘Innovate to Save’ government award to charity Leonard Cheshire

The Welsh Government is funding the rolling out of a new social care solution, the first of its kind, in Wales. It is awarding an interest-free loan of £1 million to leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire to deliver group leisure activities, creating better opportunities for disabled people and in a way that also saves the public sector money.

The charity will give disabled people the choice to pool together their direct payments for care and enjoy activities as a group rather than on their own, if they choose to. As well the obvious social benefits this will bring for individuals and their community, this reduces the cost of one to one care hours where they are not wanted, making it a pioneering new model for public sector spending.

This Innovate to Save programme, which incorporates grant and loan funding is delivered by Y Lab, the public services innovation lab for Wales, which is a partnership between Cardiff University and Nesta. It aims to find, test and support the best new ideas for Wales’ public services.

The nationwide launch follows the Leonard Cheshire trial in Anglesey, ‘Innovation for Active Communities’. Participants took part in activities including drama workshops and photography sessions.

One young participant, Gary, said:

‘It has boosted my confidence and opened up more opportunities for me.’

Personal Assistant Martin Gallagher who supports Gary added:

‘He’s got more of a choice of what he wants to do, who he wants to do it with and where he wants to do it and when.

‘I think the flexibility and creativity around that is a fantastic enabler for any person.’

The charity’s £1 million award will enable it to extend Innovation for Active Communities across Wales over three years.

Disabled people will be able to logon online to not just select their care preferences, but also join a burgeoning community led by need, common activities and interests.

Wales Director for Leonard Cheshire Glyn Meredith said:

‘The concept harks back to my time as a support worker and observing the benefit of group activities for young people.

‘Transferring that social element is very important for adults too and will transform person-centred leisure activities across Wales.

‘The groups we supported in the pilot chose activities including why we vote, health and safety and food hygiene training, which led to members of the group gaining employment.

‘Other members reported improved confidence and self-esteem by having choice and control over their own support and how and where this happened.’

Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Minister for Finance, said:

‘I’m delighted we’ve been able to announce £1m for this project through the Innovate to Save programme.

‘The Innovation for Active Communities scheme will allow disabled people to access training and voluntary work and increase their ability to make informed decisions about their care, support, and how they spend their time.’

Co-Lead and Head of Programmes at Y Lab Rob Ashelford, said:

‘Supporting projects to take on risk finance is a key outcome of the Innovate to Save programme.

‘Leonard Cheshire has embraced both the opportunity and the programme, developing exciting ideas into tangible opportunities that can be implemented to improve the service they offer. We look forward to continuing their journey as they put these ideas into practice.’

Y Lab Co-Lead and Academic Director, James Lewis, said:

‘Leonard Cheshire has developed and trialled an innovative new approach to conducting group activities with the people they support. We are excited to be able to continue working with them as they scale up this programme of work across Wales.’

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About Innovate to Save

Innovate to Save is a £5million programme supported by Welsh Government, seeking to tackle some of the most complex issues currently facing our public services — while generating cashable savings. Through grant funding, non-financial support and repayable loans, it will support public and third sector organisations to prototype, trial, scale and evaluate innovative projects.

*For Leonard Cheshire to raise income realised through savings for each local authority, it will be required that the local authorities and Leonard Cheshire enter a mutually agreed contract for the roll out of the scheme.

About Y Lab

Y Lab is the public services innovation lab for Wales. Set up in 2015, it is a partnership between Nesta and Cardiff University, and aims to support new ideas in public services, research how and why innovation happens and develop capacity for innovation in Wales.