Carers Gloucestershire was established in 1992 to provide practical and emotional support for the county’s adult unpaid carers and since 2013 delivered statutory funded contract services on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council and the Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.
Following a public tender in 2018 this contract was awarded to People Plus Group Ltd (Gloucestershire Carers Hub) who in April 2019 took over those services that had been previously provided by Carers Gloucestershire. Unfortunately, the loss of this contract had a major impact on financial position of the charity and as a consequence, all other services were stopped in 2019.
Following a period of review, the Board of Carers Gloucestershire has taken the difficult decision to close the charity and to use the charitable funds that remained to establish the Carers Gloucestershire Legacy Fund, which will offer financial assistance to local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations so they can provide support to improve the health and wellbeing of adult carers in Gloucestershire.
Carers Gloucestershire Chair, Simon Probert said:
"Announcing the planned closure of Carers Gloucestershire is a sad time and I would like to pay tribute to the many staff, volunteers, supporters, and carers who have given so much to the charity over the past thirty years. We must celebrate the tremendous work that the charity achieved over that time, and the Carers Gloucestershire Legacy Fund is an exciting opportunity to continue to support organisations, projects and carers who might otherwise go unfunded."
The Carers Gloucestershire Legacy Fund will be managed by Gloucestershire Community Foundation, a not-for profit organisation that supports communities within the county.
Trustee Rosemary Lynn is one of the two Carers Gloucestershire Trustees that will be members of the Legacy Fund management panel. She said:
"The Carers Gloucestershire Legacy Fund's purpose is to support adult carers in ways which do not duplicate existing services, but fill in the gaps. We won’t fund what’s in the statutory contract, and we are also interested in supporting charities who aren’t dedicated exclusively to carers, but those whose work inadvertently comes into contact with people who happen to be carers. As members of the fund management panel, it's our role to make sure the ethos of Carers Gloucestershire is sustained and our focus will be on enabling local organisations to provide relevant, appropriate and innovative support for adult carers."
Areas that the Legacy Fund is specifically interested in supporting include:
Periods of transition, in particular following end of life, or end of caring responsibilities or when carers move from being a young carer to an adult carer
Improving the emotional wellbeing of the carer
Improving carer confidence in dealing with long term conditions of those they care for
Supporting carers to use dedicated technologies
The introduction of robust systems to provide high quality evidence of the impact of existing carer service
The Fund will invite applications of between £5-50K and joint bids from VCSE partnerships are welcomed. Applications will be open at specific points during the year.
VCSE organisations in Gloucestershire interested in accessing the Carers Gloucestershire Legacy Fund will find details on the Gloucestershire Community Foundation website www.gloucestershirecf.org.uk.