Care & Repair in Powys Overview
2017/18 has been the first full year for Care & Repair in Powys in its office base on the top floor of the Mid-Wales Housing Association building in Newtown. It has been a year of settling into new routines and new staff were welcomed, becoming familiar with not only with our ways of working but also the huge challenges of covering a county the size of Powys.
One of our challenges in 2017/18 and one that continues is to make commonly known the services we offer to older people or people with disabilities across the county. These include:
- A home assessment visit for private home owners or private tenants. This can cover advice on welfare rights, grants and funding for home improvements and adaptations, advice on preventing falls, fire safety checks, energy efficiency, etc.
- A Managing Better service with a specialist Caseworker to help people with sensory loss or dementia.
- A technical service giving advice on home repairs and adaptations, drawing up plans and schedules and helping find a reliable builder.
- A free Rapid Response Adaptations service which completes small adaptations designed to prevent accidents and reduce the need to go into hospital or to help people get home from hospital sooner.
- For bigger adaptations we work with Powys County Council on their Disabled Facilities Grant schemes. We take the lead in dealing with the grant paperwork, designing and overseeing the practical work and so take some of the strain from those we help.
- Similarly, we can help tenants of housing associations such as Mid-Wales Housing who also need adaptations. We work to recommendations given by Occupational Therapists to make sure that the changes are right for the individual involved.
We have worked closely with colleagues in the County Council and Powys Teaching Health Board but it is important to remember that anyone can contact us to find out if we can help them or a friend or relative.
During 2017/18 we handled over 2,000 service requests and directly helped over 1,800 people. The feedback from those we’ve helped has included 93% saying they were satisfied with the work done and 90% saying they’d recommend us to others.
Here’s what some of the people we helped had to say:
“I didn’t realise how much advice and information was offered by Care & Repair, I found the office staff very helpful.”
“Couldn’t have been better thanks. I don’t wobble now!!”
“Excellent, carried out with great respect, care and generosity.”
Director of Care & Repair in Powys
Now that the dust has finally and completely settled following the relocation of Care & Repair in Powys staff and services to Newtown, this is a timely opportunity to reflect on the continued development of services provided by the organisation and the skill and commitment of staff in contributing to that development.
As Chair of the Care & Repair in Powys Board, you might expect that I would be praising the services provided by our staff, and indeed, I do. However, the true test of how well a service is doing is by what others say about those services and I want to briefly touch on some examples of how others view, and judge, what we do.
The most important views are those to whom we provide a service, whether that be in the form of benefits advice, support with sensory loss or dementia, providing minor adaptations or technical advice and support. During 2017/18 we directly helped over 1,800 people. The feedback from those people has shown a satisfaction level of 93% with 90% saying they would recommend our services to others. One person said “I didn’t realise how much advice and information was offered by Care and Repair, I found the office staff very helpful.” Another said, “couldn’t have been better, thanks. I don’t wobble now!!”
In February this year the Wales Audit Office published a report on the housing adaptation system in Wales. Overall, the report was not particularly positive but there were some lights on the horizon, including this: ‘Powys County Council operates low value and less complex adaptation schemes in partnership with Care and Repair agencies to speed up and streamline the delivery of minor works. In 2016/17, the average number of days taken to deliver a Disabled Facilities Grant in Powys was 126 compared to 356 in Monmouthshire.’ That’s eight months’ difference, so clearly we must be doing something right.
Services don’t just happen in a vacuum of course; an organisation has to be structured, managed and developed to ensure that the whole process from beginning to end can happen efficiently and effectively. This year, Care & Repair in Powys have undertaken an independently verified Governance Assessment Process and have been awarded a Level 2. Organisations that achieve this level demonstrate they are being governed well, work above statutory requirements and that the governance tools and resources are an integral part of the planning process of the organisation.
It will come as no surprise that the financial environment within which Care & Repair in Powys has to work continues to present challenges and the amount of time the Director, happily now back with us on a full-time basis, has to spend on submitting bids for resources cannot be overestimated. Due to a combination of circumstances, including an increase in fees, income and donations, we are in a position of having a surplus to the tune of £74,739 which will allow us, amongst other things, to look at the possibility of retaining the post of Caseworker for the ‘Managing Better’ service which is due to end in March 2019. This is extremely welcome news as funding from our usual sources is not being increased in line with inflation (again).
Our focus this coming year will be to build on the very positive image our service has with those who use it as well as with our partners in the statutory and voluntary sectors. We shall also continue to look for appropriate opportunities to attract additional resources into the service.
To all our staff in Care & Repair in Powys, whatever your role, thank you for the positive difference you are making to the lives of older and disabled people in Powys. Thanks also to my colleagues on the Care & Repair in Powys Board for their continued support and commitment as we move forward in this new financial year.
Care & Repair in Powys Board Chair
How the agency makes a difference to people’s lives
Care & Repair in Powys provides expertise, advice and practical support to older people or people with disabilities 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.
Fitting a new downstairs toilet
Mrs D. has ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which have a severe impact on her ability to undertake everyday activities. She was spending most of her time in her bedroom as she was struggling with the stairs. This was having a detrimental effect on her wellbeing.
An Occupational Therapist visited Mrs D. and recommended part of the ground floor utility room be converted into a toilet.
A Caseworker from Care & Repair in Powys supported Mrs D. to submit an application for a Disabled Facilities Grant and a Technical Officer drew up a scheme for the work.
The work was carried out by a contractor from Care & Repair’s preferred list of contractors.
Mr. and Mrs. D are both extremely pleased with the new ground floor toilet facilities. Mr D. says it has “changed our lives” as it means Mrs D. can spend time downstairs rather than being confined to her bedroom.
Fitting of level access shower and stairlift
Mrs D. has a number of medical conditions including diabetes, arthritis, hearing and sight loss and Mr D. was having to support his wife up and down the stairs and assist her to get in and out of the bath but was finding this increasingly difficult due to experiencing severe back pain himself.
Care & Repair in Powys received recommendations from the Social Services Occupational Therapist for a level access shower and stairlift for Mrs D. and arranged for a Caseworker to visit to help the client complete an initial enquiry form for a means tested Disabled Facilities grant application. A further visit was arranged to complete the final grant application forms and obtain the supporting financial documents. The Caseworker also assisted Mr. and Mrs. D to apply for pension credit and council tax reduction. As a result Mr. and Mrs. D have been able to maximise their income.
The level access shower and stairlift were installed at the property and Mr. and Mrs. D are delighted with them. Mrs. D can go up and downstairs and shower independently and this has made a huge difference to them both.
Following the completion of the works, the Caseworker referred Mr. and Mrs. D to NEST, the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Scheme who consequently approved the replacement of their central heating system.
Essential works to the roof, electrics, central heating system and the fitting of a level access shower
Mr. P was first referred to Care & Repair in Powys back in 2011 as his house was in very bad state of repair. He lives on his own and has limited reading and writing skills.
Since then we have helped with many essential works, such as roof repairs, electrics and a referral to an outside agency – NEST – the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Scheme for a central heating system and insulation.
Care & Repair in Powys received Occupational Therapist recommendations for level access shower works in 2013. Mr P. was not able to provide the information necessary to apply for a grant at the time but support was offered to enable him to do so though Mr P. decided he didn’t want to pursue it on that occasion.
Earlier this year we received further recommendations for rails and level access facilities. This time, Mr P. has some new neighbours who were acting on his behalf and supporting him to have further work carried out to his property.
Care & Repair in Powys have been successful in getting the proposed works completed and Mr P. is extremely pleased with the finished effect. “It is the best thing I have ever had,” and also “I couldn’t wish for better,” he said.
Fitting a new handrail
Mrs L. has rheumatoid arthritis, which has been increasingly affecting her mobility. She had her bath taken out and a shower cubicle installed a few years ago, but it had a high step, which made her fearful of falling. A Care & Repair in Powys Caseworker referred her for an Occupational Therapist assessment of her bathing needs.
During the visit, the Caseworker noticed that there was a loose wooden handrail in the garden and arranged for a new handrail to be fitted, funded by the Healthy Homes Project. A Care & Repair in Powys Minor Adaptations Officer visited the property to fit a new galvanised handrail in the garden and also reset a couple of loose paving slabs.
Mrs L. is very happy with the new handrail and says she now feels much more confident about going to the garden to hang washing or sitting out on a nice sunny day!
“Excelled my expectations, no problems at all. From start to finish everything was explained and end product excellent. Before I had the wet room, I had to have help to get in and out of the bath, my wife struggled, but now I have handrails and a seat and can manage on my own. This has made my life 100% easier.
“Very satisfied – I was told if I needed anything else to just give the office a ring.“
“Excellent and professional support. They make a real and effective contribution. We could not have done without them.“
“I am going to be much safer – thank you.“
“Care & Repair workers are very lovely helpful people to the customers, also very supportive.“
“The work carried out was exactly what I and the assessor agreed on. If my circumstances change I hope I will be able to obtain further help. The handy person did the work quickly and well, he involved me in discussion about what works best for me – excellent. This service is too valuable to fail. Please increase the funding to save it.“