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Forward Carers wins Working Families Award

Forward Carers announced as winner of Best Innovation award from Working Families

Forward Carers are thrilled to be named as winners of the Best Innovation award – sponsored by Adactus Ltd – by work-life balance charity Working Families, as part of the 2021 Best Practice Awards. The awards celebrate employers whose stand-out cultures and working practices are leading the way in flexible and employee-friendly workplaces.

This year has seen an exceptional quality of entries, as organisations across sectors and sizes work to support their teams through the pandemic. The winners have all gone above and beyond for the parents and carers in their workforce, and demonstrate that from the army to banking, and from international companies to small charities, all sectors can build flexibility and family-friendly support into their job roles.

Why Forward Carers won this award
Forward Carers has been named the winner of the Best Innovation category because of the development of the UK’s first 3-in-1 Carers Card. The Carer Friendly Card helps Forward Carers staff, and anyone in a caring role, to overcome three of the greatest challenges they face; lack of understanding about Carers; the financial impact of their caring role; and the real fear of who can support their loved one should they be unexpectantly become unavailable. The Card addresses all three of these challenges, it acts as Carer identity verification, provides access to shopping discounts and includes the carer’s emergency contact details to offer the carer and cared for peace of mind.

Forward Carers is on a mission to create Carer Friendly Communities which is reflected in the organisation’s workplace policies and services available to staff members. The Carers Card plays a key role in creating Carer Friendly Communities, including in the workplace. One in seven employees combine paid work with unpaid caring; the photo ID card can help a working carer spark a conversation with their employer around their caring role. Juggling work and unpaid care can be a significant issue for carers, leading to many having to stop working altogether which is detrimental to both the employee and employer.

Forward Carers is encouraging workplaces to be carer friendly but also the whole community too so that carers feel supported before and after their working day. The Carers Card aims to make life easier and ‘friendlier’ for carers outside of work so that day-to-day interactions such as visiting an inclusive supermarket, shop or café is less stressful and more affordable. Improving support in the community has a knock-on effect in making people feel better at work too. 

Chantell Marler is the project manager of the Carer Friendly Communities scheme for Forward Carers and has been involved with the development of the Carer Card since its conception in 2019. Chantell said,

“We are thrilled that the Carer Friendly Card has been recognised and that we have won this award. We hope that by winning this award other Carers in England will hear about the card’s benefits and apply for one to help them in their caring role.”

Chantell continued to describe the Carer Friendly Card,

“The new card comes with a QR code, which can be scanned to provide proof that the card holder is a registered and verified Carer and will also contain additional information about the Carer Friendly Communities scheme. Businesses who are not part of the scheme already, can scan the card and will be able to sign up there and then to offer discounts to carers.

The card is the UK’s first electronic Carers photo identity card accessible on smartphones, the digital version of the card is £10 less than the physical plastic card so it’s affordable to Carers and reduces our impact on the environment.”

Here’s what one of the judges, Jennifer Thomas had to say about Forward Carers: https://youtu.be/9EDvNNCNJvw

Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families and chair of the judging panel said:  

“After an extremely challenging year for working parents and employers alike, we are thrilled to be sharing our Award-winning organisations for 2021, celebrating exceptional best practice and support for parents and carers across a wide range of sectors.

“This last year has shown that flexible, family-friendly working practices are possible in many more jobs and sectors than previously thought, and the breadth of our winning organisations demonstrates that. Whether you are a mother serving in the army, or someone with caring responsibilities working in banking, our winners are shining examples of why supporting your staff team to have a good balance of work and family life isn’t just the ‘right thing’ to do – it makes great business sense too.

“As we move out of the pandemic into the ‘new normal’, we are determined to use what we’ve learned to benefit more of the UK’s 13 million working parents. When employees have more control over their time, we see improved engagement and retention, as well as better organisational performance. Our Best Practice Awards winners 2021 are leading the way in making this a reality for thousands of parents and carers.”

 For, further information about the Carer Friendly Card and to apply for one, click here.

The winning organisations are:  

Best COVID-19 Response (a new award for 2021) – joint winners
Teach First
University of Strathclyde

Best for Mothers – joint winners
British Army

Best for Fathers

Best for Carers & Eldercare – sponsored by Crown Prosecution Service   
Anglo American Services (UK) Ltd

Best Family Network   
Nationwide Building Society

Best for Mental Health & Wellbeing – sponsored by Hill Dickinson LLP 
Santander UK

Best Innovation – sponsored by Adactus Ltd
Forward Carers

Best for Flexible Working sponsored by Find Your Flex Group 
Together Housing Group

Best Small Employer – sponsored by ILF Scotland
Keep Britain Tidy

About Working Families  
Working Families is the UK’s work-life balance charity that helps working parents and carers—and their employers—find a better balance between responsibilities at home and in the workplace.

They provide free legal advice to parents and carers on their rights at work. They give employers the tools they need to support their employees while creating a flexible, high-performing workforce. And they advocate on behalf of the UK’s 13 million working parents, influencing policy through campaigns informed by ground-breaking research.