Launched in 2011, Living Well with Dementia was a Design Challenge run in partnership with the Department of Health to improve the lives of those affected by dementia. One of the five innovative solutions created through the challenge, Trading Times is an online service that matches carers and people aged 50+ with local businesses for flexible paid work.
An estimated 670,000 people in the UK now care for someone with dementia. One study found that over half provide more than 35 hours of informal care each week. The costs to them are significant with 72% worse off financially and many struggling to make ends meet.
Carers express a clear desire for improved access to paid work and, probably even more importantly, to remain connected to society. In a survey of carers conducted by the NHS, 27% said they wanted to take up paid work, with flexible working hours and the ability to work from home being the two most important factors that would enable them to do so.
Meanwhile, small- and medium-sized companies often need skilled local employees for short periods (typically below 10 hours a week) but have difficulty finding them.
Trading Times is an online social enterprise that matches the skills and availability of adults over 50 and carers with the flexible ad hoc resource requirements of local businesses. It is free for those seeking employment and paid for on a transactional basis by employers.
Both carers and adults over 50 face reduced opportunities to work and earn income, forcing many to reduce their working hours or give up work entirely. However, they have loads of skills and experience, and they have time. But often they don’t want to work 9 to 5. They’re looking for flexible jobs that make use of their talents, and fit with their lives.
Trading Times has a big social objective. We feel it’s our responsibility to connect these two groups and in so doing achieve a much richer, more productive, inspiring and aspiring place to live.Founder Dr Jonathan Collie
The online service allows employers to register the jobs and hours they need people to work. Trading Times also registers potential employees' skills, availability and jobs they are interested in.
The service then matches the employer’s needs with people who have the right skills and availability, sending the anonymised profiles for the employer to choose whom they’d like to hire. Once a match is found, the potential employee receives an e-mail to ask whether they are interested.
Trading Times was founded by Dr Jonathan Collie, who has extensive experience in the design and implementation of transformational healthcare delivery models.
Following a successful six-month pilot in North London in 2013, Trading Times launched its nationwide service in January 2014. Since its launch, over 1,000 users have registered, and the service has achieved more than 500 matches with an average of 5 per job posted. The service has a high registrant conversion rate – 12 out of every 100 new visitors register with the service.
Trading Times is beginning to expand beyond London, with hotspots developing in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Exeter, Norwich and many others.