Housing Association Lends a Helping Hand

A leading North Staffordshire housing association is offering a helping hand to elderly, disabled and disadvantaged tenants.

Aspire Housing has launched its new handyman service, free of charge to those that need a little bit of assistance with odd jobs around the home.

The handyman does what it says on the tin – provides a helping hand for those who need it, from changing a light bulb, hanging a curtain rail to helping new tenants move in.

The service is provided by one man, Russell Cotton, and the opportunity has certainly created plenty of job satisfaction for the 50-year-old.

Russell, from Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, has worked as a garden team supervisor for PM Training – a social enterprise that tackles worklessness among young people and which is a sister company to Aspire Housing – for the past three years.

“When I saw the job advertised it was a new challenge and I had previous experience in things like tiling, plastering and general DIY,” he said.

“A job like this does give you a good sense of achievement as it really makes a difference to customers’ lives and in some cases it ensures they can continue living independently.

“I can see many of the elderly customers get a bit frustrated needing help with simple tasks but really it has changed their day to day lives dramatically,” said Russell.

It is tenants like 84-year-old Ann Shakeshaft from London Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, who have benefited from the scheme enormously already.

“I can’t begin to say how much it’s helped me; Russell has fitted a hand-rail in the bathroom, fixed my mobility chair and painted my steps to make them more visible,” she said.

“Before Russell’s help, I had to pay for these services before which ended up costing me a lot of money.

“He is tidy, productive and just a joy to have around – this service is something that is invaluable to people like me,” added Ann.

Caroline Baggaley, Head of Housing at Aspire Housing, said: “It was the kind of service we could see was needed for some of our elderly and more vulnerable tenants.

“Once we’d tested the logistics of such a scheme, it became clear it was definitely worth doing.

“Our tenants’ welfare is very important to us and this project has proved to be a huge help to those who are more vulnerable or elderly and for many meant they can remain living independently,” said Ms Baggaley.

For more information and to find out if you are eligible for the service phone: 01782 635200 or visit http://aspirehousing.co.uk/our+services/handyman