Liverpool’s Handy Persons scheme is being given the female touch, thanks to a new partnership with a leading social enterprise.
The service has teamed-up with Blackburne House to provide local vulnerable people with access to women DIY experts.
Two-thirds of the pensioners and disabled residents who are currently taking advantage of the scheme – which aims to make people safer, healthier and more secure in their homes – are women. The new partnership with Blackburne House means people can now choose a female operative if they wish, when using the service.
The Liverpool Handy Person’s scheme is run by the city council, in partnership with Riverside Housing and Housing Maintenance Solutions (HMS) (a wholly owned subsidiary of Liverpool Mutual Homes). It is putting a team of DIY professionals at the beck and call of over 65s and those with a disability.
The city council awarded Riverside and HMS a grant of £250,000 to deliver the pilot scheme. It means residents can call a dedicated hotline and request a visit from a handyperson to carry out tasks – at a subsidised rate of £15 per hour, plus materials – such as:
• Fitting locks, spyholes and door chains
• Replacing light bulbs, electric fuses and plugs
• Installing grab rails
• Fitting doorbells and smoke alarms
• Assembling flat pack furniture
• Unblocking sinks
• One-off garden clean-ups
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We know what a lifeline our Handy Persons scheme could prove to be for our most vulnerable residents – especially as the weather gets colder – so we want to connect with as many people as possible and break down any barriers to them accessing the service.
“The majority of those who use this service are women, and we understand that some may feel more comfortable opening their door to a female operative. That’s why I’m delighted that we’ve brought Blackburne House on-board to support the scheme. Having a team of female experts on-hand, to work alongside our existing handy persons will give people more choice and reassurance when booking a visit.”
Blackburne House has grown from a centre of education for women to being one of the UK’s leading and pioneering social enterprises. The work carried out by the organisation is enabling thousands of individuals, organisations and businesses to impact positively on the local economy.
The newly-added Handy Persons Services will be provided by Blackburne House Maintenance Ltd, a female-staffed maintenance business which forms part of the Blackburne House Group’s offer.
Andrea Rushton, Head of Maintenance & Construction at Blackburne House, said “We have been educating and providing services for women for 30 years and we wanted to extend our offer to the women of Liverpool by providing practical solutions in maintenance, repair and decoration.
“We are delighted to be involved in the Handy Persons Service and look forward to supporting local people in their home.”
About the Handy Persons Service
• The Liverpool Handy Person’s Scheme is available to people aged 65+ and those with a disability. It aims to improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life of vulnerable people, helping them maintain their independence in their own home and cutting hospital admissions.
• The funding for the scheme comes from a £250,000 grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government Housing Strategy for Older People.
• Residents can call 0151 295 6102 for a chat about their needs and to book an appointment. They will receive a visit from a handy person within 7-10 days.
• The service is offered at a subsidised rate of £15 per hour (plus the cost of materials).
• Most jobs are not likely to take more than two hours.
• The scheme is not means tested and is offered to all residents (if 65 and over and /or disabled) in the City regardless of tenure (owner occupiers, social housing tenants or private sector tenants).
• An apprenticeship scheme will form part of the Handypersons service, with Liverpool Community College providing a pool of apprentices – including plumbers, electricians and joiners – to support HMS and Riverside and develop their own skills.
• Liverpool Community Colleges apprentices who will benefit from the scheme will range in age from 18, to people in their 50s.
Image, top: Andrea Rushton, Head of Maintenance & Construction at Blackburne House (far right) with members of the DIY team