Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Town Council

How a small Somerset town grew its care and volunteer workforce and brought in a cool £1m in unclaimed benefits   

How a small Somerset town grew its care and volunteer workforce and brought in a cool £1m in unclaimed benefits   

A small Somerset town has brought in more than £1.4m in unclaimed benefits and has seen its community care workforce expand from just 3 to 35 since its homegrown care scheme was established in 2018. 

Wiveliscombe – or ‘Wivey’ as it’s known to locals – is a small town in Somerset which responded to the crisis in care by creating a ‘connector’ scheme ,signposting people who need help to self-employed carers. These carers ,who are known as ‘Micro-providers’, help local residents with a range of activities, from personal care such as help with staying clean, ensuring meals are provided and medication is taken, as well as providing company and conversation.

Wivey Cares is the brainchild of David Patterson, a retired social worker who founded the scheme as a way of providing a very local solution to the crisis in care.   Mr Patterson said: “Wivey is a rural town, and the conventional model of care at home just doesn’t work here for this reason.   “We believed that there must be people who lived locally who could meet the need for care, which would support the work of government agencies, reducing the cost of services provided and helping people live independently in their homes for longer.   “So just over five years ago we held public meetings and pitched the idea, and our proposals were enthusiastically received by the town.”

Mr Patterson added: “We’ve come a long way since those early days – not only have we helped local people become self-employed carers or volunteers, we’ve also helped people get their ideas off the ground, helping them to develop dementia groups ,and food and growing projects locally. As a result, we now have more than 35 carers who can access meaningful self-employment, live locally, and offer really personalised support.   “To date we have managed and helped more than 300 people fill in forms and claim their Attendance Allowance. This is financial support the government offers which can help people with extra costs if they have a disability where they need someone to help look after them. At any one time we believe we are supporting between 120 and 140 clients to stay in their own homes, keeping them close to friends and family.   “This has resulted in nearly £1.4m of previously unclaimed benefits being received by Wivey residents, creating jobs, and stimulating our local economy.”  

Cllr Heather Shearer, Somerset County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said: “In Somerset, we are absolutely committed to giving people choice and control over the care they receive.   “Whether this is through a wide range of regulated care providers, or via local Micro-providers and volunteers.   “We also offer choice and flexibility in the way people pay for their care – whether this is by funded care, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, or Direct Payments.   “The Wivey Cares scheme is a great example of the power of our communities, and shows that grassroots organisations can really make a difference and solve complex problems.   “In the case of Wivey Cares, by creating jobs, reducing the need for travel, and providing support to local people needing care ranging from personal care to practical care and companionship.”  

People who are interested in setting up their own local care scheme can contact communityenterprise@somerset.gov.uk for more information.  

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Records Retention Schedule

Financial Risk Management Policy - March 2023

Grant Application Kings Coronation Form

The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023, with an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May 2023.

We are keen to hear from groups/organisations in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge that are looking to celebrate the Coronation. The Town Council has £1500 available to allocate to events being organised to celebrate the Kings Coronation. The maximum grant to be allocated per event will be £500.

You must meet the following criteria for your application to be considered:

– The event will be open to all members of the public

– The event will be free of charge

– The event will take place within the Coronation weekend

– The event will take place within Burnham on Sea or Highbridge


Applications will close on Monday 6th March at midday. 

Your organisation and contact details

What happens next....
Applications will be considered at the Finance and Resources Committee Meeting on Monday 13th March 2023. You will be notified after this date whether your application has been successful.
Burnham & Highbridge Town Council takes your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information for the purposes of contacting you about this grant. The Council’s privacy notice can be found here.

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