Hundreds of Liverpool pensioners and disabled people will be safer, healthier and more secure in their homes, thanks to a new Handy Persons project.
Liverpool City Council is teaming-up with Riverside Housing and Housing Maintenance Solutions (HMS) (a wholly owned subsidiary of Liverpool Mutual Homes) for the scheme. It will put a team of DIY professionals at the beck and call of over 65s and those with a disability.
The city council has awarded Riverside and HMS a grant of £250,000 to deliver the pilot scheme. It means residents will be able to 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
The scheme 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.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “It’s so, so important that older residents and vulnerable people can live safely and independently in their homes for as long as possible – and we’re determined to do everything we can to support them.
“The new Handy Persons scheme will provide a real lifeline for residents who need it most. It will give them access to an affordable, speedy and trustworthy means of carrying out those often small but vital household tasks which can make such a difference to the quality of people’s lives.”
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. As well as being given vital training and experience, the apprentices will also be supported in gaining permanent employment through the scheme.
Liverpool’s Mayoral Lead for Older People, Councillor Gerard Woodhouse, said: “I spend a lot of time talking to older people about the challenges they face in living independently, and I know that it’s often the small jobs that can cause them the biggest problems. That’s why I’m so pleased that this service is being made available for them.
“Having a reliable handy person on-call is going to be a real help to many, many older residents, as well as those with disabilities. I’m looking forward to the scheme getting underway.”
Paul Booth, Riverside’s Regeneration Manager said, “We are looking forward to working with the City Council to deliver this vitally important service for older residents and those with disabilities in Liverpool. Our service will help people retain the greatest possible control of their lives by completing a range of tasks to the highest standards. Our highly skilled Handy Persons and dedicated team are ready to provide a tailored approach for each client – to remove the stress and worry of getting small jobs completed around the home.”
Managing Director at Housing Maintenance Solutions, Paul Worthington, said: “The scheme will allow residents to benefit from using regulated and highly trained trades people at a fraction of the cost.
“Furthermore, people can feel safe about letting our staff into their homes and have confidence the work will meet the highest standards with a minimum of disruption.
“The college partnership means more people in the community will benefit too and it will give them an insight into the work HMS carries out. And if they enjoy it, they can apply to our apprenticeship programme and develop their careers.”
The Liverpool City Council Handy Persons scheme officially launches this week.
About the Liverpool Handy Person’s Scheme
• The funding for the scheme comes from a £250,000 grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government Housing Strategy for Older People.
• HMS will cover the north of the city, and Riverside the south.
• 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).
• Liverpool Community Colleges apprentices who will benefit from the scheme will range in age from 18, to people in their 50s.
• Last year, Riverside Housing Association Charitable Trust funding helped 82 people into work, and 48 older or vulnerable people to maintain their independence in their own homes.