We recognise that sometimes the biggest battle is knowing where to start looking for the information you need.
We have gathered together information about the trades, services and organisations we get asked about most often in one place to help you make informed decisions.
Choosing a Reputable Trader
We strongly suggest that you read our Choosing a Reputable Trader Guide when making any selections or decisions. You can download this below or read it online.
Choosing a Reputable Trader Guide (read online)
Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to turn to choose a reliable trader. The following points will help you to select wisely and reduce the possibility of problems.
Disclaimer: Please note that this guide is for information purposes only and Age UK Wiltshire do not recommend or endorse any company or organisation listed or identified as a result of using the tools provided in this guide or on our website.
Choosing a trader
- Ask friends and family to recommend traders where possible.
- Get at least three different quotes before having work carried out.
- Check that all quotes are provided in writing.
- Check whether you are given a quote or an estimate. A quote is a fixed price for the job and should not change, whereas an estimate can vary by a reasonable amount.
- Check that the quote includes an inclusive price and details all work that you have requested.
- Check that the quote includes a timescale for the work to be started and completed.
- Check that you have adequate contact details for the trader including an address and landline phone number.
- Check that you are not required to pay for the work in advance.
- You should always aim to keep back at least some money until the work is complete.
Questions to ask traders
- How long have you been in business? Established traders are less likely to disappear in the middle of a job.
- Are you a member of a trade association? Some trade associations operate codes of practice that offer extra protection to consumers and some offer mediation or conciliation services to help resolve disputes. You should contact the trade association to see what extra protection they offer and to check that the trader is a member, for example a reputable builder will be a member of the Federation of Master Builders or the Guild of Master Craftsmen.
- Can I see references? Ask to see references for similar work the trader has done in the past.
- Do you have insurance to cover damage to property? Check that this will cover your neighbour’s property as well as your own, where appropriate. Ask to see a copy.
- Is the work guaranteed? If a guarantee is provided check whether this is insurance backed, since this will mean you will be protected even if the trader goes out of business.
Points to remember when using a trader
- Check that you are happy with the standard of the work before paying the bill. If you are not, refuse to pay until the problems are rectified.
- Pay by credit card where possible, as you will often get extra protection. Otherwise, try to pay by cheque rather than cash. Never agree to go with a trader to the bank or building society in order to withdraw money.
- Always ensure you have a contract– without one if something goes wrong, your legal position won't be strong. Contracts do not need to be long but should detail the work to be completed for the price agreed.
If you have any concerns
If you have concerns about a trader or a contract you have made with one you should seek further advice from Citizen’s Advice consumer helpline 03454 04 05 06. They can also pass complaints and feedback to your local council’s Trading Standards department.
You can also search ‘trader’ on www.citizensadvice.org.uk for online information on choosing a trader and resolving problems.
Find a trade or service
We have collated a list of searches and links below for a variety of trades, services and organisations.
- Click on a heading to expand it and show the lists under that category.
- Each individual trade or service will have a matching link that will take you to the named website/document
- On clicking the link you will be taken to that external website where you can enter details, such as your postcode, to search for a trade or service near you.
- Some of the searches have pre-loaded results; you can refine the search to match your location.
- For some searches you will need to click on individual results to obtain full contact details.
- You can usually print, email or download the majority of search results.
If you have trouble using the list of searches and links below then please contact us and we will try to provide the information another way.
Age UK produce a range of useful information guides and factsheets and we have suggested some relevant ones for each category.
Aids, Equipment and Technology
You are entitled to reqest a free assessment of your needs from your local authority which may result in you being provided with some aids and equipment for free.
To ask for a free assessment please contact:
- Wiltshire Council Adult Care team Tel: 0300 456 0111 Email: AdviceandContact@wiltshire.gov.uk
- Swindon Borough Council Adult Care team Tel: 0800 085 6666 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively you may wish to purchase aids and equipment privately from a local service below.
|List / Service||Suggested Search or Link|
|Free impartial advice, information and training on equipment for independent living||
Independent Living Centre- Semington Tel: 01380 871007 (by appointment only, to try out large variety of aids /equipment with occupational therapist support)
|Disabled Living Foundation
|Mobility aids, wheelchair and equipment for hire or purchase||
Independent Living Centre - Semington maintain list of local retailers offering equipment for hire or purchase and '2nd hand equipment list'
Does your town operate a 'Shopmobility' scheme?
|Hearing and Vision aids for hire or purchase|
|Free IT and computer training||
Learn My Way (online training)
Have you asked at your local library?
Your local U3A may have an IT / computer club
|Stairlift providers for hire or purchase||Download our info sheet|
|Personal alarm / lifeline providers||Download our info sheet|
|Attendance Allowance||A non-means-tested benefit from the government to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health problem or disability. This could be put towards purchasing of aids, equipment or services.|
All Age UK guides and factsheets - guides on adapting your home, getting help at home, internet security and Attendance Allowance.
Health and Wellbeing
|List / Service||Suggested Search or Link|
|Chiropodist/ Podiatrist (incl. home visits)||The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Tel: 020 7234 8620|
|Dentists - NHS practices||NHS Choices|
|Dentists- Mobile / Home visiting||NHS Community Dental Service|
|Hairdressers- Mobile / Home visiting||Yell.com|
|Hot and frozen meal providers||Download our list|
|Opticians- Mobile / Home visiting||HousingCare.org (don't forget to check what NHS options are offered)|
|Shopping options and services||Download our list|
|Lunch clubs and day centres||Download our list|
All Age UK guides and factsheets - guides on healthy living, advice for carers and staying steady.
Housing and Care
|List / Service||Suggested Search or Link|
|Care homes||Care Quality Commission|
|Domiciliary care agencies||Care Quality Commission|
|Domestic help agencies||HousingCare.org (select 'domestic help' from drop down list)|
|Financial Advisors for care planning||The Society of Later Life Advisers|
|Sheltered Housing schemes||
Did you know many rented sheltered housing schemes are applied for through local council housing registers?
|Support for self-funders of care packages and finding a personal assistant||Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living|
|Furniture / bulky item reuse and collection||Wiltshire Council large item collection (also lists charities that collect furniture and other items)|
All Age UK guides and factsheets - guides on housing options, care homes, hospital stays, finding sheltered housing and getting help at home.
|Wiltshire Council||Tel: 0300 456 0100 Your Care Your Support (Wiltshire)|
|Wiltshire Council Adult Social Care team||Tel: 0300 456 0111 Email: AdviceandContact@wiltshire.gov.uk|
|Swindon Borough Council||Tel: 01793 445500 My Care My Support (Swindon)|
|Swindon Council Adult Social Care team||Tel: 0800 085 6666 Email: email@example.com|
Home Maintenance, Energy and Security
Bobby Van Tel: 01380 861155
Offer free home security checks across Wiltshire for older people and those who are otherwise vulnerable or disadvantaged.
Handihelp Tel: 0333 400 8299
Provides advice and charged-for practical support across Wiltshire to help you to enjoy an independent life in your own home. Also provide a competitively priced handyperson service.
Royal British Legion Handy Van (Swindon only) Tel: 0808 802 8080
Free help in Swindon for ex-Service people and their families with small household repairs and minor adaptations.
Wiltshire and Dorset Fire Service Tel: 0800 038 2323
Offer free 'Safe and Well' home visits across Wiltshire to help you keep safe and healthy at home. Can check and fit smoke alarms where required.
Download our Spread the Warmth leaflet for information on local and national schemes relating to improving energy efficiency, extra money for heating costs and energy saving advice.
All Age UK guides and factsheets - guides on saving energy, winter warmth and home safety.
Trades and Services
Don't forget to read our "Choosing a Reputable Trader Guide" when making any decisions.
|List / Service||Suggested Searches|
|Builders and Handyperson||Federation of Master Builders|
|Domestic Appliance Repairs||Yell.com|
|Electricians||Registered Competent Persons - Electricians|
|Gardening Services||The Gardeners Guild|
|Painters and Decorators||The Painting and Decorating Association|
|Plumbers and Heating Engineers||Find an APHC Installer|
|TV and Video Repairs||Yell.com|
Travel and Transport
This organisation also has information on accessible leisure, tourism and holiday opportunities.
Blue Badge Scheme
A concessionary parking scheme for people with severe mobility problems. Available from your local authority:
Concessionary Bus Pass and Taxi Vouchers schemes
A concessionary travel scheme for older people and people with severe mobility problems. Availble from your local authority:
Help for planning a journey in Wiltshire by car, bus, train, cycle or walking.
List of local voluntary groups in Wiltshire that provide transport for people who struggle to get out and about e.g. getting to medical appointments - most towns have a scheme.
Akcess operate not-for-profit assisted and wheelchair passenger transport in Swindon area
Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPTS) for those that require transport to/from hospital and are unable to get there themselves. Eligiblity criteria is set by the Department of Health and based upon whether someone's medical condition prevents them from travelling by any other means.
The Research Institute for Disabled Customers have a number of useful guides regarding motoring with a disability, travelling with scooters, choosing and using an adapted vehicle.
Can't find what you are looking for?
If you want to know what is going on in your community or looking for a trader in your local area and you can't find what you're looking for from the information above, you might try the following:
- If you are looking for a trader, you can try looking on Yell.com, Dentons.net or Trading Standards - Buy With Confidence. You will need to put in your location and the type of trade you require.
- Town, parish and church newsletters and magazines often have current information about local services. You may be able to access this information online or sign up to their mailing lists.
- Your local church, post office or news agent notice boards may have information about local activities and people offering services.
- Word of mouth is often a good source of local information - friends, family or a neighbour may be able to recommend something from their own experiences.