Carers UK and Centrica are delighted to have won the prestigious award for 2021, in recognition of the significant achievements of an innovative three-year strategic partnership.
Around 65% of us will care for someone in our lifetime and Carers UK is here to make life better for unpaid carers looking after family and friends who are older, disabled or chronically ill. The collaboration between the charity and the energy services and solutions company has successfully built on the charity’s purpose and Centrica’s existing core value of recognising and valuing carers amongst its workforce and customers.
In 2019, the two organisations combined forces and began to build on a long-standing relationship to make lasting changes for more unpaid carers to access support. The partnership has also helped Centrica lead the way in creating a blueprint for other companies to follow, through specially commissioned research and campaigns as well as furthering good practice.
The pandemic has been especially stressful for unpaid carers and the numbers of those taking on extra caring responsibilities have massively increased by an estimated 4.5 million. Many are exhausted and there has never been a greater need for support for those providing unpaid care. Centrica helped Carers UK respond quickly to the initial impact of COVID-19, directing extra financial support to the charity’s Helpline, enabling its hours to increase by 275% to meet the increased demand.
British Gas, of which Centrica is the parent company, has rolled out workforce training and the use of a ‘carers flag’ across its customer contact workforce in the last year. This has helped carers to be more easily identified and offered support during customer calls.
Other highlights have included ‘Share that you Care,’ a campaign which included the creation of an online carers’ hub and award-winning film Two Sides of the Story. This set out to improve Centrica customer and public understanding of the issues carers might experience and where to get support. The film succeeded in being one of the most-shared content ever for British Gas on its social channels and was also shown in cinemas.
Commenting on the award-win, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “This award is fantastic recognition of our three-year partnership with Centrica, the results of which we’re incredibly proud. Corporate partnerships have the ability to create lasting change and we really feel that this partnership is a great example of how this can be achieved, delivering greater visibility, understanding and support for carers through a clear vision for the long-term.”
Abi Robins, Director of Responsible Business at Centrica said: “We have been honoured to work with Carers UK to help improve the lives of unpaid carers. It’s a fantastic achievement to win this award and we will continue to support the carers in our workforce and customer base. It is vital that services and wider organisations recognise the increasing numbers of carers and introduce policies and processes that support them.”
Carers UK is here to make sure that carers get the help and support they need right from the start of their caring journey. The charity gives expert advice, information and support to carers and campaigns for better recognition, understanding and appreciation of the essential job carers do.