Hundreds of pounds on offer to support Oxfordshire careworkers with the rising cost of living

Elena Volosin

For Elena Volosin, who supports older people living in a carehome in Burcot, south Oxfordshire, the winter was going to be financially tough. Like most of us, household bills were on the rise and Christmas credit card debts needed to be paid.

But to make matters worse her car, which was essential for her to get to work, needed some unexpected repairs.

It became a worrying time. But with help from the Care Workers' Charity hardship grant – funded by Oxfordshire County Council - Elena was given £500, to help get her car back up and running, as well as contributions to the general cost of living, taking some of the pressure off.

Elena said: “Everyone knew prices were going up but when my car broke down I was beginning to worry about how I was going to pay for it all. I just needed a bit of short-term help, to plug the gap.

“I heard about the hardship grant and thought it was worth looking into. Within two weeks of applying, I had an extra £500, which really helped me manage my finances.”

The hardship fund was set up last spring, offering quick financial support to people working in Oxfordshire’s care sector. It has paid out more than £260,000 to over 440 people and there are still funds available for people working in Oxfordshire’s care sector who need additional financial support.

In response to the increased cost of living, the maximum individual funding allowance has now been increased to £750 for requests made by 31 March 2023.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Elena and the hard-working staff like her are performing an incredibly important, difficult and often undervalued role, caring for our friends and families who need additional support. This council recognises their contribution and feels it is vital that our care professionals have access to this fund, helping to offer financial support during this difficult time.

“This is a reflection of how much we value the job they do to support our most vulnerable residents and I would urge anyone in the industry who is facing financial hardship to apply.”

The grant has recently been expanded to include people starting their career in the industry, helping them to find their feet by removing the initial financial hurdles they may encounter, including contributions towards housing and transport costs.

Care workers can also apply for a reimbursement in paying for their Blue Light Card – a system which provides everyday discounts for people working in social care, as well as the emergency services.

The fund can help with a range of costs, from essential living expenses to payments supporting health and wellbeing or promoting independence. Most successful applications take only two weeks for the money to be transferred into people’s bank accounts.

Elena said: “This fund isn’t about a charitable handout and nobody should feel embarrassed about applying. Everyone is feeling the financial pinch at the moment and I would encourage anyone who works as a carer in Oxfordshire to take a closer look to see if the grant can help them too.

“Getting my car fixed has helped me get back to the job I love. Working in a care home gives me the chance to interact with its residents and their happiness makes my days beautiful and easy. I always appreciate them for their strength to move on and be happy.”

For more information and to apply, go to thecareworkerscharity.org.uk/oxfordshire-grants

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