Promoting independence in older age and championing community spirit is at the heart of what we do.
We’ve come to recognise that there’s a real gap in providing support for older people in their own homes before they need advanced care – it’s having somebody local to ‘just pop-in’ for a chat and to help with everyday tasks like watering the plants, collecting a prescription and making a sandwich.
I’ve worked in elderly care for the past seven years and my mum (and business partner) has been in the care industry for four decades. Together, with my sister, in 2010 we set up a care agency to provide bespoke live-in care for people in their own homes.
However, what we have found during our years running the agency is that although there is a clear demand for care services in our community there is also a real, and growing, need for services that can offer companionship, a friendly face and a helping hand with tasks.
We are hearing from people who want a chaperone and companion to drive an elderly relative to church each Sunday, someone looking for a bit of extra help to close up their garden for the winter, to a daughter wanting somebody to visit her mum in her care home for lunch and a chat three times a week.
We wanted to help with these little jobs, the ones that make an enormous difference, and this is why we set up Close to Hand. We want to harness the power of the internet and connect local people to lend a helping hand. Our aim is to make it easy to arrange help and companionship at the same time as enabling local people to find flexible work with a purpose.
Hannah, one of our very first Home Helpers to register, puts it beautifully: “Close to Hand offers a different approach to care – it’s more about the little things in life and I think it’s often those little things that can make the biggest difference to someone’s day."
Hannah is a mum of small children who was keen to find local work that fits in around her. As a working mum myself I could empathise with her. I kept hearing from my friends that there just wasn’t enough local flexible work for mums and students alike.
Here were two parts of the same community that needed each other, but didn’t know it.
I am on a mission to use the internet to connect people and bring back community spirit; that way I can fulfil two passions of mine; to protect and promote independence for the senior members of our community and enable flexible, meaningful work for people who want to make a difference.