2016/17 has been a year of significant change for the Agency, including the relocation of Care & Repair in Powys staff and services from Llandrindod Wells to Newtown. But despite the upheaval, it is a testament to the quality and dedication of the staff that the services provided to the residents of Powys have continued to develop and improve.
Interviews for the post of Director of Care & Repair in Powys were held in November 2016 and this resulted in the appointment of Anna Orton to the organisation. Unfortunately, the new Director has had to have an extended period of absence for personal reasons but robust cover arrangements have been put in place and I would wish to place on record my thanks and appreciation to all the staff who have ‘stepped up to the plate’ and ensured that the effects of Anna’s absence have been kept to a minimum.
Other staffing news during this year has been the recruitment of a new caseworker and also a craftsperson to add to the skills of the Practical Services Team. I am also pleased to announce the recruitment of two new members to the CRP Management Board, Rhydian Davies and Stewart Davison, and look forward to their continued contribution to our discussions over the coming months.
November 2016 saw the launch of the Healthy Homes Service by Kirsty Williams AM. This is a home-based visiting service available to those aged over 60 living in Powys. The aim of the service is to prevent falls, trips and slips at home by providing advice on safety following an assessment. Any identified work is carried out by our Practical Services Team.
It is important to recognise the continued difficult financial environment within which Care & Repair in Powys works. However, it is worth noting that as of 31st March 2017, the Agency had a surplus, before any reserve transfers, of £57,742. Given that the first financial quarter management accounts reported a deficit of £10,832, this shows a dramatic change in financial performance during the year.
This improvement has been largely as a result of monies received from bids made for funding from the Intermediate Care Fund, for the Home Safely and Healthy Homes Services, and ‘Enable’ monies which have boosted the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme (RRAP) work. These new forms of grant have enabled previously unfunded posts to be funded and allowed for greater volumes of RRAP work to be carried out in-house, thereby creating efficiencies and savings. It is also a reflection of closer working with Mid Wales Housing Association as planned when we moved.
As always, Care & Repair in Powys has sought to continue to build strong and positive relationships with its partners across the statutory, health and non statutory sectors during the year. Most importantly, the Agency has tried to ensure that it continues to provide services which enable older people in Powys to remain living safely in their own homes for as long as possible whilst going through a period of significant organisational change.
During the next year Care & Repair in Powys will be building on the work already carried out so far and, seek to market its services more widely. This will ensure that older people and their families/carers/friends, and the wider public in general, are aware of our services, what we offer and how to access them. In addition, we want to ensure that all our stakeholders and politicians (national and local) are also aware of our services and how these impact on the older population of Powys. By doing so, I hope we can continue to attract the funding necessary to ensure our services can develop further.
On behalf of the Board and service users can I thank all staff members who work so hard to ensure that those who need our services across Powys receive them in such a supportive, friendly and timely manner.
I would also like to express my thanks to all my colleagues on the Care & Repair in Powys Board for their commitment to the service during this year of change and challenge.
How the agency makes a difference to people's lives
Care & Repair in Powys provides expertise, advice and practical support to older people who need to undertake repairs, renovations or adaptations to their home. We do this to help people remain living at home independently, comfortably, safely and securely.
Below are just a few examples of how the Agency has helped clients during the year. Even though some of the adaptations are relatively small, they still have a major impact on the client’s quality of life.
New central heating system and handrail
Mr. M was first visited by a Caseworker the day after his 90th birthday which he celebrated with his friends and family. Mr. M lives with his wife in a bungalow in a rural location. Up until recently, Mr. M had been in good health, but had recently had a fall in the garden while collecting logs. As a result he had been admitted to hospital where he also contracted pneumonia.
Since being discharged, he was struggling with his mobility, which he found particularly difficult as he loves spending time in the garden. Following the initial visit, the Caseworker recommended they have handrails fitted to the steps leading from the conservatory to the garden and also referred them to Social Services for an Occupational Therapist to assess his bathing needs and they were invited to apply for an overbath shower to be funded by a Disabled Facilities Grant. The Caseworker carried out a benefits check and assisted him to apply for Attendance Allowance which he was awarded, therefore raising their income. As Mr. and Mrs. M were in receipt of a ‘passporting’ means tested benefit, they received full grant funding for the bathroom adaptations and we were able to refer them to the Welsh Government’s Warm Home Scheme, NEST, to upgrade their heating system from a solid fuel heating system backed up by electric storage heaters to a new oil fired central heating system.
Mr. M describes the handrails and new shower as a “godsend”. “I don’t know what I would do without them”, he told us. The handrails help Mr. M to access the garden safely from the house, although the new central heating system means that he doesn’t have to make so many trips to the wood shed to collect logs!
Mrs. M said that they were both very “grateful to Care & Repair in Powys for all their help and support”.
Healthy Homes Assessment
Mrs. J. contacted the Agency as her garden fence had blown down in a storm. She was worried that the lack of fence was affecting the privacy of her neighbours and also had previously had some intruders in her garden a couple of years ago so was anxious to make it as secure as possible.
Mrs. J. was quite frail and has been in hospital several times. Our Caseworker visited and carried out a Healthy Homes assessment and through discussion, it emerged that the client was very worried about her central heating system which had been installed a few years ago under a government energy efficiency scheme. The client had had the system serviced annually and been told each time that the boiler had been sited incorrectly, that there was poor workmanship and the last engineer to visit condemned it and described as a “disaster waiting to happen”. This had caused the client a lot of worry. Our Caseworker agreed to contact the scheme operator as a matter of urgency and meanwhile the client said that she would refrain from switching the boiler on until the situation had been investigated.
One of the Agency’s trusted contractors was asked to visit the client and arrange to supply Mrs. J. with a quote for replacement fencing.
With regard to the boiler, after contact from Care & Repair in Powys, NEST, the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Scheme, arranged for an engineer to visit to inspect the works and Mrs. J. said he spent the whole afternoon there and was extremely thorough advising that the installation was not dangerous and had been installed safely and to appropriate standards. Mrs. J. said she felt thoroughly reassured and it was big weight off her mind, she said that she was so glad that she had contacted Care & Repair in Powys, otherwise she would have been worrying needlessly or ended up spending money on a new system which she didn’t need and couldn’t afford.
Care & Repair in Powys will maintain contact with Mrs. J until the fencework has been completed satisfactorily and of course Mrs. J knows our door is always open if she needs our assistance in the future.
Fitting of a stairlift and level access shower
Mrs. W has a number of health issues which meant that she could no longer walk up and downstairs unaided or get in and out of the bath without support from her husband. Mr. W had hurt his back in the process of providing this support and the couple were both struggling. Care & Repair in Powys helped them apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant and arranged for a stairlift and level access shower to be installed at the property. This has made a huge difference to the couple and Mrs. W. said that she is delighted with both and told the Caseworker that the little boy living nearby had been in to see it and had asked his parents if he could have a stairlift for his 5th birthday!
During the grant process, Care & Repair’s Caseworker also carried out a benefit check and identified that the couple could be entitled to benefits that they were not claiming. The Caseworker helped Mr. W apply for Carer’s Allowance and then subsequently assisted them to apply for Pension Credit and Council Tax reduction which have resulted in Mr. & Mrs. W receiving an increased income. The couple are now planning a weekend break away due to the improvement in their financial situation.
“Everything Care & Repair in Powys have organised for us has turned out to be more than satisfactory and we are more than grateful. Sincere thank you.”
“Improvements made have enabled us to remain in our own home. Financial advice and assistance given is much appreciated which has helped a lot. Many thanks.”