Handy Helpers

The Handy Helpers project is a support service which provides internal and external maintenance, preventive measures and practical tasks in and around the homes of vulnerable elderly (65+) or disabled Buckinghamshire residents.

This person-centred service matches residents who are regarded as ‘at risk’ with a DBS checked Handy Helper Team Leader supported by a group of volunteers or a DBS checked Men in Sheds Handy Helper.

Funded by a grant from Buckinghamshire Council, the service can be accessed for free or on a donation basis, according to an assessment of need. It also offers befriending to provide much needed social interaction.

We are currently recruiting for a Handy Helpers team assistant. Full details of the vacancy and how to apply can be found here.

Aim of the project

The Handy Helpers project enables people to live safe and secure in their own homes for longer by:

  • Alleviating the stress associated with the inability to deal with household tasks/repairs
  • Minimising the risks and hazards in and around the home
  • Providing the opportunity to make social connections

How to get involved

In line with government guidance and following a rigorous risk assessment process, we have resumed our Handy Helper service after the initial stages of the pandemic. For general information contact  handyhelpers@communityimpactbucks.org.uk, or if you would like to access the service, click here to fill in our online referral form.

Handy Helpers runs across Buckinghamshire and complements our Community Growing Project and Gardening and Wellbeing Service which are also provided by Community Impact Bucks.

Types of jobs we do

This list is not exhaustive, but serves to illustrate some of the repairs and tasks that we can undertake:

  • Home Safety and Falls prevention actions/remedial measures to address hazards related to (falls, fire, home security & scams awareness)
  • General maintenance services (repairing door/cupboard handles, replacing light bulbs, batteries, resetting clocks/thermostats)
  • External maintenance (e.g. garden clearance, leaf collecting, path clearing/cleaning, painting fences/sheds)
  • Removal and Disposal of small household items, green/general waste
  • Home security measures (e.g. locks, wireless alarms)
  • Minor adaptions (e.g. key safes, handrails)
    Do-it-yourself tasks (e.g. building flat packed furniture and putting up shelves, pictures, coat hooks etc.)
  • Moving of furniture and other items (e.g. to enable a hospital bed to be put in place or to arrange a bedroom downstairs)
  •  Practical tasks (e.g. help with re-organising a small amount of items or paperwork)

Please note that we are not a cleaning service. We are also not able to undertake electrical or plumbing works; instead CIB will signpost clients to Trading Standards who hold a list of approved, qualified tradespeople.

Request help

How it works

Clients can be referred to the project or contact the project to request help by contacting handyhelpers@communityimpactbucks.org.uk, calling 01844 617 231 / 0300 111 1250 or by filling in an online referral form by clicking on this link.

An assessment of each client will then be conducted to identify their eligibility for the service and their likely needs. Each task requirement will then be assessed so they can be matched to a member of our Handy Helpers Team. Tasks will be completed free of charge for eligible clients. However, they may donate to the project if they wish. Clients will be required to supply or pay for their own materials (e.g. fixtures, fittings and furnishings).

We will not be able to offer a same-day service, but urgent works will be given priority. Once the task has been completed, clients will be asked to complete a feedback form.

Target Group

The Handy Helpers Service is an Early Intervention Preventative service for people who are 65+ or disabled. They will have at least 4 of the key risk factors or triggers which identify them as being ‘at risk’ of declining in their independence and mental wellbeing due to certain ‘life events’ or ‘circumstances’, which are:

  • A trip or fall in the previous 3 months
  • Suffering from a long-term health condition
  • A recent discharge from hospital
  • Aged 85+
  • Having an age-related mental or physical disability
  • A recent development of a health problem
  • In receipt of a means-tested benefit
  • Being a victim of crime
  • Loss of a partner in the past 2 years
  • Living alone
  • Social isolation
  • Caring for a partner or relative

Eligibility

Lives in Buckinghamshire and
Aged 65+ or living with a disability and
Identified as ‘at risk’ of declining in independence/mental wellbeing, or
Identified as “at risk” of falls

Become a volunteer

The Handy Helpers Project is all about local community participation and volunteering. We seek to galvanise local residents as volunteers to help support the more vulnerable in their community and foster good community relationships which hopefully will spill into becoming trusted relationships and friendships.

The project will build relationships between volunteers and clients so that while a lightbulb is being changed a cup of tea and a chat can also be shared. This provides an often much-needed interaction for an older person and the volunteer alike. Similarly, by helping an older person a volunteer not only offers the solution to a practical task but the opportunity to get out and have a change of scenery themselves.

We provide a flexible and supportive experience where volunteers can fit their volunteering around other commitments on a regular or ad hoc basis, which can be in the daytime or the evening and during the week or at the weekend. Being a Handy Helper offers a meaningful and rewarding opportunity to meet new people and make a difference to their life.

Volunteers can choose to volunteer independently as a One2one Handy Helper or be part of the Handy Helper Group.

One2One Handy Helpers:

Our volunteers let us know their availability and we match them with a client depending on their preferred locations and the type of task required.

Handy Helper Group:

Team working is at the centre of our Handy Helper Group, our volunteers are guided by a paid Handy Helper Team Leader. There is a great sense of camaraderie where they can draw on each other’s knowledge and experience.

Benefits of volunteering

Being a Handy Helper volunteer is a very rewarding experience. Your donation of time, no matter how small is greatly valued and appreciated as it makes a significant difference to the life of a vulnerable person. Our volunteers say they get an enormous sense of achievement in doing something useful that wouldn’t get done without their help. In addition, they get the opportunity to use their talents and explore their capabilities.

We will be working in the following locations during November and December:

Aston Clinton – 8 December

Aylesbury – 2 December

Bourne End – 1 December

Buckingham – 25 November

Calvert – 2 December

High Wycombe – 1, 15 & 16 December

Iver – 3 December

Marlow – 1 December

Princes Risborough – 24 November

Slapton – 2 December

Steeple Claydon – 2 December

Stoke Mandeville – 9 December

Wendover – 9 & 10 December

Weston Turville – 9 December

Wingrave – 2 December

Winslow – 26 November

To find out more about volunteering on the Handy Helper scheme, email handyhelpers@communityimpactbucks.org.uk or call us on 01844 617 231.

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Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society