Hartlepool uses £40,000 to offer advice on care

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Council officers are using £40,000 grant cash on a website to give people in Hartlepool advice and information.

Hartlepool Borough Council has been issued Government guidance under the Care Act, in line with other local authorities up and down the country, on boosting the way that information and advice about services and activities in the town is shared.

So staff from the Child and Adult Services team have used £40,000 out of a £125,000 Government grant to support implementation of the move, to develop a website called Hartlepool Now.

An Adult Services Committee meeting heard that the internet site, which has also seen a staff role created to maintain it, was originally set up in 2009.

But due to limited staffing it was difficult to keep it up to date and engaging.

As a result of the cash boost, the “site has been completely re-developed and re-launched with a new provider, more up to date technologies, refined search features and a more user friendly interactive approach.”

The site is live but is being continually improved over the next few months.

It will provide information and advice to residents on care and support services like care homes, or independent financial advice, and more low level services such as luncheon clubs and handy-people.

Jill Harrison, assistant director of adult services also said that as not all people can access the internet, there will be similar information in the form of factsheets, and also a sign-posting service at Hartlepool Voluntary Development Association (HVDA).

Jill told the meeting: “The website is just one part of the tool kit as we understand that not all people can use or like to use the internet.

“The website is live and ready to use now, but there will be more work carried out on it over the summer time ahead of a launch event on October when hopefully we’ve got it just right.”

Leigh Keeble, development manager in child and adult services said that the website is being used by the council’s frontline workers, such as social worker staff, who are regularly showing it to their clients to see what they think of it. So far the feedback has been positive.

Leigh added that as well as an online self-assessment which throws up results relevant to the user, there is also a section where people can leave their comments about it.

To use the site log on to www.hartlepoolnow.co.uk