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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Handyperson service reaches milestone six years on

Handyperson service reaches milestone six years on

Issued: 26 May 2010

A service which helps older people and those with a disability with small jobs in their homes, reached a major milestone last week with the completion of the 30,000th job across Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty. The Handyperson service, which covers the whole of the two counties, commenced in August 2004. Since then the demand for the service has grown considerably, with well over 5,000 jobs a year being completed. This means that around 3,000 people benefit annually.

Locally based charity and social enterprise, ILM (Highland), established the service in conjunction with Highland Community Care Forum, The Highland Council, Ross and Cromarty Enterprise and Albyn Housing Society. The service is now largely funded by The Highland Council, as well as NHS Highland. Its target is to assist older people and those with a disability, with small jobs in their homes. This includes fitting smoke alarms, handrails, fitting curtains and shelves, small scale plumbing and joinery work, as well as, undertaking hazard checks.

Andy Dytch, General Manager of ILM (Highland), said: "This new initiative was very much an unknown quantity in 2004. The key players indicated that the service was needed, but until it was actually rolled out, it was impossible to predict what the demand would be. We need not have worried. Within six months, after a concerted advertising campaign to raise awareness, demand had risen to over 400 jobs a month. This has grown further over subsequent years.

"The service is now important in the provision of support to vulnerable older people and those with a disability in their homes. By combining practical skills with a high degree of empathy, handyperson staff are able to improve the quality of people's lives, right in their homes. Jobs get done quickly and at relatively low cost. The worry and anxiety that older people often feel is lessened. Related to this, the service can have an impact in terms of enabling people to stay in their homes for longer. Overall, it's a win win situation."

The support of the Highland Council has been key in the success of the service.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chair of Housing and Social Work Committee said: "We are delighted to support ILM (Highland) in their work to provide elderly and disabled clients with practical help to reduce accidents and increase safety and security in their own homes. The fact that so many clients in Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty have benefitted from a helping hand to carry out small repairs and everyday tasks is good news as it means the people who need the help are getting it. Credit must go to the hard working team of handymen who work closely with our housing and social work departments to ensure all referrals are dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. I am sure the excellent service will continue to help many more people."

ILM (Highland) is an Alness based social enterprise with charitable status. It also delivers a care and repair service, an insulation service, as well as, an electrical waste reuse and recycling service. It can be contacted on 01349 884774.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme