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Face-to-face services restarting

Published on 19 May 2020 04:59 PM

Providing vital support

We're acting on the latest government advice

We had to suspend many of our services, such as home care cleaning, gardening and the handyperson service, because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The government’s announcement on Sunday 17th May advised that people who cannot do their jobs from home should be encouraged and supported back to work if COVID-19 regulations can be met.

Our staff and volunteers who are currently delivering emergency food, prescriptions and hot meals to older people across Northamptonshire say that domestic cleaning, gardening and handyperson services have been desperately missed.  Many clients with mobility issues and health conditions struggle to carry out jobs around the house and garden and, in many cases, things like cleaning aren’t being done at all.  This can pose a significant risk to their health, especially at a time when older people are being encouraged to self-isolate at home.

Our handyperson and gardening services restarted on Friday 1st May and are available to people aged 60 and over living in Northamptonshire.  Handyperson staff can carry out urgent tasks such as replacing light bulbs, fuses and plugs, dealing with trip hazards, supplying and fitting grab rails and police-approved key safes. The home care cleaning service will restart on Monday 1st June and is available to people aged 55 and over living in Northamptonshire. Our caring, reliable staff can help with domestic duties such as cleaning kitchens, bathrooms and toilets, changing bed sheets, vacuuming and dusting.  All staff are reference-checked and DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked to ensure client safety.

Further guidance from the government on how to keep safe at work is expected soon and we have adapted these much-needed services so that they can be provided safely during the coronavirus pandemic.  All our staff are observing the 2m social distancing rule and gardening and handyperson staff will only enter their clients' homes if absolutely necessary.  All staff entering the home will wear masks and follow hand washing protocol.  We are sending invoices to clients for the work we carry out to avoid the need to use cash.

These three services are the first paid-for services to be restarted following the imposition of the lockdown in March, and they will generate essential revenue to help the charity continue to support older people. The services also provide a lifeline to older people as staff will also check the welfare of the person they visit, ensuring that our clients are eating regularly and taking their medication.  We can also signpost people to other help where necessary.

Su Brazell, Senior Service Manager at Age UK Northamptonshire, said “These services have always been much more than cutting the grass or cleaning the kitchen. It’s an opportunity for human interaction and regular monitoring of our clients’ health and wellbeing.  We provide a trusted service that lifts the spirits of our clients and keeps them safe in their homes.”

Pauline, an Age UK Northamptonshire client said of the handyperson service “When I called around local handypersons, I was told that my job was too small, so I was delighted when Age UK Northamptonshire could help. One of their staff, Owain, came round and even gave me a lesson in the different sizes of drill bits and types of wall plugs he was using. Having my job completed has made an amazing difference. It really was a job well done, I can’t thank Age UK Northamptonshire enough.”

Our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal is still open so please make a donation if you are able.  You can help us provide help to older people who are struggling during this difficult time.  Thank you.

Coronavirus Emergency Appeal