Skills for Care

Care Friends receives King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation

21 Apr 2023

3 min read

Skills for Care

  • Digital
  • Good news story
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Skills for Care

This #GoodNewsFriday we’re saying well done to our partners Care Friends as they achieve a King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

Care Friends has been honoured in the first ever King’s Awards for Enterprise, receiving a King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

The Care Friends app, which was launched in partnership with Skills for Care, is a digital employee referral solution which supports the recruitment and retention of high-quality care staff.

Care Friends is one of 148 organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise.

Care Friends has been awarded for its excellence in innovation, one of only 48 organisations in this category which recognises business success through creative innovation.

Care Friends and Skills for Care are delighted to be honoured with this award.

Neil Eastwood, Founder and CEO of Care Friends and author of ‘Saving Social Care’ says:

I am absolutely thrilled to receive a King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. It means so much to all of us at Care Friends.

We really are offering an innovative solution to the unprecedented recruitment and retention challenges that we know the vitally important social care sector is facing, and for our work to be recognised in these prestigious awards is a real achievement.

Since launching in 2020 Care Friends has generated over 85,000 candidates who have been hand-picked for their values and suitability for social care by our existing workforce. Care workers have earned £4.5M via the app and employers are reporting year one staff turnover rates of new starters hired via the app are as much as six times lower than they are used to from other sources.

We will continue to optimise the technology and are looking forward to bringing it to many more employers to support the social care sector in the future.

Oonagh Smyth, CEO, Skills for Care says:

We are honoured and proud to see Care Friends recognised in the King’s Awards for Enterprise.

We have always been excited by the work which Care Friends does to support recruitment, retention and recognition within the social care sector and we are delighted to be their partner in offering this creative innovation for the social care sector.

There is so much great work and success happening within social care and it is important to see the sector recognised in these notable awards.


The Care Friends app works by enabling and encouraging existing care staff to refer new potential recruits to apply for a role in their organisation faster and more easily using their own mobile phone. By utilising this personal recommendation process, applicants have proven to be more likely to be high-quality and new recruits are more likely to stay in their roles long-term.

Employees are rewarded with points for referring successful candidates which can be redeemed for cash.

Beyond recruitment, the app can also be used to support staff recognition and retention by providing points to individual employees, which can be exchanged for monetary value, as a reward for their hard work.

The King’s Awards for Enterprise was previously known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. The Award programme, now in its 57th year, is the most prestigious business award in the country.


Find out more about Care Friends.

Find more inspiring and positive stories from the social care sector with our #CelebratingSocialCare spotlight.

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