Unpaid carers, the people they care for, and local areas across the country will benefit from new government funding for technologies and innovations in adult social care.
Speaking at the National Children and Adult Social Services’ Conference (NCASC), the minister for care announced a tenfold boost to a national fund that will identify innovative ways of supporting unpaid carers, taking the fund from £500,000 to £5m.
Caroline Dineage, minister for care, said: “Without unpaid carers – young and old – our health and care system would simply grind to a halt.
“We know many carers receive limited formal support, so it is vital that we work with partners beyond government to raise awareness of their needs and find new ways to support them.
“Through the Carers Action Plan, we committed to investing in the Carer Innovations Fund. So, it’s with great pleasure that I can announce today an increase in that budget to £5m.”
Dineage believes the fund will lead to innovation and technological advances for the benefits of carers and the cared for throughout the country.
In addition, she announced nine local authorities which have been chosen as part of a programme exploring how technology, such as AI and robotics, can help shape the future of social care, backed up by £700,000.
“Virtual assistants, now in many homes across the country, can help people live more independently, reduce their social isolation and maintain their dignity through better self-management of health and care needs at home.
“Exploring these possibilities does not mean we are seeking to substitute technology for people. We know that the best technology liberates and enhances human interaction, it doesn’t side-line or exclude it.”
The nine local authorities in the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme include; Bracknell Forest, Havering, Isle of Wight, Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Shropshire, Stockport, Sunderland and the Wirral.
Earlier this year, 12 councils were awarded £20,000 each in the first phase of funding, to investigate local challenges that could be addressed using digital technology.