Give and Take Care
The UK faces a number of challenges, one of which is the increasing number of elderly people who require care, ranging from company, domestic assistance, and personal services to simple medical procedures, but who want to live at home. It is also certain that the government will not have the economic recourses to meet even a fraction of the demand.
GATC proposes that charities supporting elderly people should make an optional offer to their members to become Partners of the GATC pension scheme, which is based on the number of hours of service they give to GATC. In principle, every hour spent on the care and support objectives of the organisation earns a “care credit” which is deposited in a special bank account, using an alternative currency called GATs. This currency has no monetary value, although it can be gifted to family or friends or returned to GATC for an emergency fund. The primary purpose is to build up a balance of GATs over a period which, when the need arises, are used to service a care pension for the Partner.
The scheme, which has a national H.Q., is totally independent of the state, business, or charities. Mutuality and independence from government, charity or business support are the basic principles that make GATC care pension sustainable and not subject to any external policy change.
The basic principles of GATC reflect the triple bottom line framework whereby social, environmental and financial resources are innovatively integrated to maximise the benefits for all three:
- Social: GATC makes the community better integrated by not simply promoting volunteering but asserting that ‘looking after each other is the only way forward’
- Environmental: The local provision of care represents an option that can be close to be carbon footprint neutral
- Financial: GATC is sustainable by promoting intergenerational reciprocal care that is not subject to inflation and does not weigh on the government expenditure.
The IT infrastructure required by the project will be developed in collaboration with the East of England Co-op. GATC has also received a Smart Lab Innovation award from Sheffield City Council where GATC is likely to launch.
A scheme of this nature may be the only way in which our society will be able to safeguard the quality of life of an ageing population, in a climate of increasing requirement, adverse economic conditions and the erosion of money provision by inflation.