Care service back in action

Keith Bayley
Keith Bayley

A SERVICE aimed at helping people live more independently has been successfully re-launched in Hartlepool.

Earlier this year, Hartlepool Borough Council awarded the contract for the town-wide low level support service to a consortium led by Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA).

HVDA is working with other organisations including Hartlepool and East Durham Mind and Hartlepool Carers for the length of the contract, which was held by Who Cares North East before they lost out in the tender process.

The new six-month contract, which started this month and runs until March 31, 2014, is worth £170,000 with the council funding £25,000 and the rest from the NHS.

The scheme is part of a national pilot and has been running for a number of years from the Owton Manor area as Connected Care.

There are three main elements to the project:

l A low-level support team provides help with things like shopping and getting to appointments as well as organising lunch clubs for older residents.

l A navigation service helps people to find their way round services that they may need, for example advice services on benefits or fuel, or housing.

l A handyperson service can help with small household repairs to help keep people safe and comfortable in their homes.

Keith Bayley, manager of HVDA, said: “Projects like Connecting Communities are increasingly important in meeting the needs of people in Hartlepool.

“It provides a one-stop-shop where local people, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, can get the support needed to maintain independence and quality of life.”

It is proving popular with residents.

Flo Taylor, 83, from the Oxford Road area, said: “Ten years ago I was battling and beat breast cancer and didn’t have any help.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have any relatives nearby, and often when I am ill, which I have been lately, little jobs pass me by.

“I know the team are there at the end of the phone or will pop out and see me when I need them.

“They are a really helpful service to elderly people like me.”

Hazel Lowcock, from Seaton Carew, said: “When I lost my husband over two years ago, I didn’t go to bereavement counselling, I found the lunch clubs and the girls.

“They were the people who helped me and supported me through a difficult time.”  

The new delivery partnership will work with the existing staff team who have been transferred across from Connected Care.

Anyone can request assistance or refer people to the Connecting Communities service by calling (01429) 265056, email or by calling in at HVDA, Rockhaven, 36 Victoria Road between 9am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, and between 9am and 4.30pm on Fridays.