PNE Group Founder Launches New Book in Support of Working Carers


David Grayson CBE, Professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at Cranfield University, and one of the founders of PNE Group, has released a new book which draws on his personal experiences, and explains why employers need to change their attitudes to employees with caring responsibilities. 

Take Care: How to be a Great Employer for Working Carers’ is a practical guide that enables employers to better understand and support employees with caring responsibilities. It presents this as part of good management practice that strengthens organisational flexibility and sustainability, and argues that this is now an integral element of being a responsible employer and organisation. The book includes practical examples from more than fifty employers around the world, from small businesses to global enterprises, as well as public sector and non-governmental organisation examples.

David’s passion for caring and the role of carers comes from his personal experience; firstly, by being cared for by his parents when he contracted a life-threatening bone disease at the age of 11 and, most recently, helping his 91-year-old mum maintain her independence in her own home in the North of England.

Reflecting on his inspiration for the book, David states: “I went half-time in my job at Cranfield to look after my mum in her final years. Like many others, I hadn’t thought of myself as a ‘carer’ early on – just someone doing what they wanted to do for a parent who’d always cared for me. And I struggled. My social and professional circles narrowed, efforts at staying fit were abandoned.”

He continues, “Being a carer – whether that’s caring for elderly relations, a partner, a disabled son or daughter or sibling – is life-altering. Important and rewarding, but it also comes with physical, mental, social and financial costs. These costs can become negatively reinforcing: a kind of caring vicious circle. Reducing or giving up work generally means less money, which can lead to a reduction in opportunities for a social life and increasing isolation, which in turn can impact negatively on physical and mental health.”

David will be launching his new book during a promotional event hosted by PNE Group on Friday (July 14th). To complement his book launch, David will also be leading a workshop on Sustainable Enterprises and Responsible Business, an area of discussion which David has addressed in both his academic work, as a Professor at the Cranfield School of Management, and throughout his career.

David’s work on sustainability and responsible business can be dated back to 1980, when he completed a research paper with David Irwin for The Council of Europe on the economics of North East England, exploring the employment challenges the region faced. Motivated by their research, Grayson and Irwin founded PNE Group, then named Project North East, a social enterprise initiative supporting people to start their own business.

Since then, David has established a reputation as a leading figure within the corporate responsibility sector, and has been featured as one of the Guardian’s top ten tweeters on sustainable leadership (a list which also features Sheryl Sandberg, Al Gore and Tim Cook). He is a regular contributor to, columnist and editorial advisory board member for the Guardian Sustainable Business Blog and The Ethical Corporation and is the Chair of Carers UK, the UK’s only national membership charity for carers. He received an OBE for services to the industry in 1994 and a CBE for services to disability in 1999.


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