Social Care Crisis

With a rural premium.

Younger person with older one

The Challenge

Much can be done to help people stay in their communities in simple ways, such as support with their housework, gardening or shopping. Small adaptations to homes can also make a big difference.

Older people or others affected by an illness or accident may also need services that are more personal, such as help with getting up or washing. Some will be cared for by a relative but other will have to pay for such services themselves; others will receive (some) funding from the local authority.


The number of people aged 65 and over with social care needs is projected to increase by 70% across rural England over the next 20 years.


With increased distances to travel to see clients, it often costs more to provide such care in rural areas – certainly where care agencies are involved. It can be difficult to find and keep care staff, making it harder for carers and clients to build trust and get to know each other.

Generally, personal care services have to be provided by someone with the right training and checks to ensure everyone is safe. The same is true with all people considered more vulnerable, whether because of their age or any disabilities or impairments.

Just be aware of this and get advice if you want to develop support more locally, in a safe and legal way. It may be that:

  • those needing care or those officially responsible for them could set up a co-operative involving the clients, family and carers (this may require registration with the Care Quality Commission)
  • an existing care provider, including co-operatives, could help by taking on new clients and staff from within your community (if it fits their business model)
  • a new co-operative covering the wider community could be set up (if demand is there and the cost of meeting regulations can be met).

Health and care needs are difficult to separate for those with multiple and complex needs and reductions in resources for social care are compounded by high delivery costs and organisational challenges in sparse areas.

LGA and Public Health England

Health and Wellbeing in Rural Areas: Case Studies, 2017