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1 December 2020
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Carefree’s sustainability solution for unpaid carers crowned at Skift IDEA Awards 2020

UK charity tech startup, Carefree, has garnered international attention and won a globally recognised accolade for its accessible solution to get unpaid carers the short break they urgently need.

The Skift IDEA Awards, sponsored by Accor Hotels, recognises companies defining the future of travel and honours inspiring work from brands, agencies, and tech providers creating better ways to travel. “With hundreds of entries across 14 categories, this year’s Skift IDEA Awards winners represent the innovations, design, and experiences defining the future of travel." Matt Heidkamp, Creative Strategy Director, Skift

Carefree was recognised for creating the best design or strategic solution to enable social, economic, or environmental sustainability. Other winners included mainstay brands such as citizenM for its Contactless Stay App, Silvercar Responsible Travel Initiative by Audi and The Centurion® Lounge at John F. Kennedy Airport by American Express.

Carefree's co-founder, James Ricketts, was supported in the design of the brand by renowned studio Pentagram who, under the careful guidance of John Rushworth and Jane Pluer, helped bring together Carefree's spirit, innovative concept and experience delivery in the brand's visual architecture.

Charlotte Newman, Carefree’s CEO said: “We’re honoured to be listed as a winner among such high-profile entrants. As a small charity with global ambitions, we’ve always sought to create low-cost, high-impact solutions to incredibly complex social challenges. Together with the hospitality industry, we can unlock the full commercial and social value of their surplus inventory to support the wellbeing of the hidden, unpaid carers on which every healthcare system depends.”

Last year, Carefree was named Third Sector Breakthrough Charity of the Year in the UK based on its initial pilots with Bespoke Hotels, Classic Cottages and The Stobart Group. Key funding for the initiative has been provided by Baillie Gifford Investment Management, National Lottery Community Fund, Social Tech Trust, The Swire Charitable Trusts, and Postcode Innovation Trust, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

According to new research released by Carers UK this month, unpaid carers have provided £135 billion of care since the start of the pandemic in March but have failed to gain the same public recognition for their role or support from corporate gifts-in-kind as their salaried NHS and Care Home Worker counterparts. Should they burnout or otherwise be unable to provide care the cost to the economy would be insurmountable.

Carefree’s impact model and easy-to-use technology provide a ready-to-go delivery mechanism to identify, verify and connect full-time, unpaid carers to donated breaks at a time and place that’s possible for them. Combined with its flexible gifting model to enable hospitality partners to manage their donations in line with availability it has the potential to radically open up widespread access to a short break for carers across the UK and beyond.

“With all of the difficulties facing the hospitality industry as a result of the pandemic it’s more important than ever to adopt new business models that are regenerative by design”, explains Martyn Milford, Carefree’s newly appointed Director of Partnerships and Growth. “By leveraging their existing, under-utilised assets to prevent carer burnout, the hospitality industry can take a future-focused approach to proactively ensure greater resiliency in our healthcare system and embed social purpose into the DNA of their brand.”