Government funding, designed to support the recruitment and retention of adult social care staff, has been put to imaginative use in Wirral.
The authority has spent part of the grant it received under the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund (WRRF) on the purchase of electric bikes for a number of care workers employed by a partner organisation, Professional Carers Wirral.
The E-bikes enable those care workers who don’t drive to get around the community quicker and easier to carry out their duties.
Previously they would have had to take public transport or use a traditional pedal cycle to travel between clients, which is both more time-consuming and tiring – and limits the numbers of people they can provide care to in a working day.
Transport difficulties were also identified as one of the factors that deters some people from taking or continuing in a care role. Supporting care providers to maintain and expand care capacity in order to deliver more hours of care was one of the primary aims of the funding.
With the support of local provider, Off the Rock Cycles, the team from Professional Carers have now received a number of e-bikes for use by their staff, as well as other necessary equipment and accessories to get them on the road.
Graham Hodkinson, Director of Wirral Council’s Adults, Health and Strategic Commissioning, said, “We are really pleased to have been able to provide this practical support for carers and make their duties that little bit easier on a day-to-day basis. Not only are electric bikes a quicker, cheaper and less exhausting way for them to travel between people’s homes, they are also easier on the environment and will help the council towards its commitment to reducing carbon emissions in response to the Climate Emergency.”
Gary Nagel, Director of Operations at Professional Carers, added, “A number of our staff do not have access to a vehicle or cannot drive, therefore we are continually seeking innovative and creative ways to support them, helping to make their jobs easier. This includes initiatives such as paid driving lessons and access to pool vehicles to help get them on the road.
“With the introduction of a fleet of E-Bikes, this has now enabled our non-drivers to go further, for longer, with less effort. Working in Health and Social Care is so rewarding so it is great that we can now use this alternative transport solution as another tool on our belt, to attract those considering a career in care. The use of E-Bikes also supports healthier lifestyles for our teams, reduces our carbon footprint and adds social value through the supply of equipment using a local Wirral business.”