Friday, 21 March 2014

Care website wins national award

A groundbreaking website that has helped people find the best social care and community activities in the local area has won a national award.

North Ayrshire Council created the independent website careNA (here) last summer, working with partners, service users and care providers. Now, less than a year after it launched, the website has received national recognition, taking the Gold Award for Service Innovation and Improvement at the CoSLA excellence Awards last Thursday (March 13).

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said, “More than 30,000 people across North Ayrshire use care and support services each year, with many making important decisions on the type of care they receive for the first time. The careNA website was launched to provide a helpful and comprehensive guide to the services available. People can access careNA using their PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.”

The spokesperson revealed the site has already attracted 400,000 visits.

The Council’s SNP Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Anthea Dickson, said, “With the introduction of careNA people can find services that best serve their needs. The site provides individuals with clear and current information about which organisations are providing services in their area, as well as what sort of leisure activities are taking place.

“Feedback, comment and discussion is invited through a ‘contact us’ option and an associated Facebook page. Latest news and upcoming events provide an opportunity to raise the profile of key developments and events across North Ayrshire.”

NAC was the first local authority in the country to support the development of a site that showcases services and allows users to access information easily, in a single place. Cllr Dickson believes the initiative “represents true partnership between service users, carers, providers and the Council,” adding, “The benefits are not confined to those accessing care. The move towards personalisation has opened up many opportunities to those who provide different types of care. The careNA website gives them the chance to showcase their services to thousands of North Ayrshire residents absolutely free-of-charge. This is a fantastic opportunity to help the local economy, and support local service providers while ensuring individuals receive the right type of care.”

Of the Gold Award from the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities, Anthea Dickson said, “This is recognition of the hard work and innovation of our team”, while noting that the Council “continues to develop, implement and plan to improve the quality of people's lives in North Ayrshire.”

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