Get the Glossy!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - Published by Ragni Leifson
In For Care featured in magazine on innovative health projects in Drenthe.

The Interreg VB project In For Care is showcased in Gezond in Drenthe or Healthy in Drenthe, a "glossy" recently printed in 10.000 copies and widely disseminated by the Province of Drenthe. This magazine highlights current innovative projects dealing with the theme of healthy ageing.

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The project partners in Drenthe aim to inform a broad public about their approach to Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and working caregivers, and why cooperating in an Interreg VB project is an added bonus.

SMEs are an important target group in terms of mitigating the effects of an aging workforce on the economy.

The magazine is also part of further promotional activities during the national week of the "Embassy of Drenthe" in The Hague and the Open Days in Brussels. Thus ensuring that politicians, policy makers and other stakeholders – on the national and international level – are also kept up-to-date on what’s happening in Drenthe in terms of health initiatives.

You can read the In For Care article in English below.

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In For Care

Promoting caregiving internationally

One in five employees in the Netherlands is a caregiver. In the region of Emmen, in the south of the Dutch province of Drenthe, the percentage is even higher because this is a so called ‘area in decline’. Here the VPB (an association for businesses) is responsible for the implementation of In For Care. There are relatively more older people in the region while many of the younger generation are moving away. As a business you have to anticipate for this. After all, there is a good chance that some of your employees are also caregivers. It makes good business sense to prevent them from becoming overburdened and forced to take long term leave.

As a result of their wide experience in the field of working caregivers, the Province of Drenthe invited VPB to participate in In For Care. Liesbeth Horstmann, Project Manager by VPB, knows all about this subject.

SMEs in the Emmen region

Horstmann: “You should know that about 90% of our members are SMEs. These are relatively small companies with anywhere between 10 and 50 employees and a participating director. We know of companies where a third of the employees are caregivers. That makes you extremely vulnerable if personnel are out sick for any length of time. An employee on sick leave costs the company about 250 euros a day. Do the maths, no business can keep that up for long. So you must anticipate. This was a good reason for us to join In For Care.”

What is VPB Emmen?

The Vereniging Parkmanagement Bedrijventerreinen Emmen (VPB Emmen) is the largest association of businesses in the Emmen region, with more than three hundred members spread over sixteen locations/industrial estates. The VPB is committed to safe and sustainable industrial estates, in the broadest sense of the word. That can vary from signposting a terrain to awarding a Certification of Safety, introducing solar panels and holding monthly lunch meetings on relevant themes, such as the sustainable employability of working caregivers, for example.

Southeast Drenthe (and Emmen) is an area in decline and the VPB has had a heightened awareness of the relationship between work and caregiving since 2012.

Two routes

In the In For Care project in Drenthe the focus is on two main aspects: supporting working caregivers and teaching employers to have a more flexible attitude towards this group.

Horstmann: “A special tool has been developed for the working caregiver, the M-Power Tool, which can be found on www.mantelzorgpower.nl. This is a test where employees can check if they are actually a caregiver and what kind of extra personal investment this entails. There are suggestions offered on how to monitor yourself (at home and at work) to see if you’re managing this double role and when to raise the alarm if it’s all becoming too much. The website has been functioning since early 2017. It’s too early to say yet how actively it’s being used but we have seen that it works really well in Scotland, for example.

We are also designing a special helpdesk for employers at the moment, together with the Hanze University of Applied Science. This involves carrying out a survey amongst employers to map their needs. We hope to have the helpdesk up and running by February 2018. Because we’re working in the Emmen region it is logical that we look for local solutions. Made to measure. The provincial authority has asked us, in a second phase, to roll this out for the whole of Drenthe and that is certainly our plan.

Buzz on Tour  

Meanwhile we have been busy. Last May (2107) we held a "Buzz on Tour" in the area, using an old American school bus. This was particularly interesting for entrepreneurs who seized the opportunity to discuss caregiving and how to fit this in to their companies situation. We were also able to award a number of certificates to companies that have distinguished themselves on this point. We plan to hold another tour in October, this time with a focus on the caregivers. Hopefully we’ll find some answers, exchange experiences and share tips. The results will be shared on the In For Care platform so that our international partners can also profit from our experiences and the knowledge gained. Together we learn more!’

See the Buzz on tour film: