A repairs and maintenance service for vulnerable people in Caerphilly has proved a resounding success in its first year, with work carried out for hundreds of satisfied customers across the county borough.
Care & Repair Caerphilly set up its home maintenance social enterprise last year with the aim of carrying out jobs to prevent residents aged over 60 being taken advantage of by ‘rogue traders’.
The project got off the ground with the aid of an award of more than £47,000 from the EU-funded South East Wales Community Economic Development (SEWCED) programme towards the creation of a home technician post and purchase of a van and tools. And its success has meant the recent employment of a carpenter.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and run by a six-Valleys local authorities’ consortium of Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen, SEWCED has invested £7.3m in 106 social enterprises since it began in 2010, helping to create 22 social enterprises and 110 full-time jobs.
“We are a non-profit making organisation offering free practical advice and assistance on house repairs or improvements,” said Care & Repair Chair Pat Jones. “Our aim is to help older and vulnerable people live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
“We knew from past experience with our clients that there was a gap in the market for reliable and trustworthy contractors to carry out small repairs and maintenance jobs around the house.
“Understanding the difficulties clients were going through and wanting to prevent them getting taken advantage of by rogue traders, we investigated the possibility of setting up a home maintenance service. This would bridge the gap between the small works carried out through our Handyman service and the larger scale work sent out to tender.”
The service offers repairs ranging from concrete and bricklaying works, minor plumbing, basic electrical works and carpentry work, to lawn-cutting and other garden maintenance, fire safety checks and equipment, security lighting, cameras and solar lights.
The first year saw 483 jobs completed, with customer surveys comments including:
- “It was very confidence-inspiring to know that we were dealing with honest, highly recommended workmen and we have been well pleased with everything.”
- “The service gives people like me the comfort that the work undertaken is carried out professionally and by trustworthy people.”
- “Happy men, really clean shoes!”
Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development at Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “Care & Repair is providing a much-needed service for vulnerable people, helping them to make the changes necessary to remain living securely in their own homes.
“The social enterprise did its homework before embarking on the venture, ensuring both the demand for its service and its sustainability in the long run – an excellent project, fulfilling SEWCED’s criteria perfectly.”
- For further information on the services provided by Care & Repair Caerphilly, please call 01495 235939/4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Article submitted by South East Wales Community Economic Development.