Croydon Council has launched a major recruitment drive offering free training so local residents with care needs can have greater independence and choice when employing a personal assistant.
Currently around 400 people across the borough employ a personal assistant to provide care and support, and the council has launched the new Croydon Personal Assistant Service to boost these numbers. Being a personal assistant involves supporting residents who have a range of care needs with a service that includes helping them at home and to get around their local area, arranging appointments or applying for benefits.
The new council-funded Croydon Personal Assistant Service aims to widen the pool of personal assistants available by improving the support given to both personal assistants and the people they look after. This new service, run by award-winning charity Independent Lives for the council and partners in the One Croydon Alliance, includes:
• Free online social care training for prospective personal assistants
• Free training for adults with care needs on how to employ a personal assistant
• Support so people with care needs can choose how to spend flexible Direct Payments
The council-funded personal assistant training covers everything from first aid tips and autism awareness to health and safety. Support is also available to carers so they know their legal responsibilities as an employer and where to get support.
Personal assistants can choose to work in a range of roles with flexible hours to suit. The role can range from a few hours per week to a full-time post depending on their availability and the needs of the person they look after.
Personal assistants must be aged 16 or over, caring and motivated people, and they are directly employed by Croydon residents with the support of the council’s new service. The council also offers free DBS safeguarding checks for personal assistants.
“People with disabilities or chronic medical conditions need more than just help with the basics, and for many the answer is a personal assistant to boost their independence and choice.
“We already have hundreds of personal assistants across the borough, but thanks to this free training and extra ongoing support I hope more people sign up as personal assistants to help more people gain greater independence.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
The new service comes after the council made it easier earlier this year for Croydon residents to access Direct Payments. The council still arranges all care for people who choose not to take a Direct Payment or are ineligible for one.
For more information, visit the Independent Lives website or call 01903 219482.