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A Helping Hand

Do you need help to sort out a few odd jobs around the home? As you get older, maintaining your independence can sometimes be a challenge, which is why the Helping Hands scheme has started in Malvern.

Run by Community Action Malvern and District, volunteers help with simple tasks around the home or garden for a fee of between £8 and £10 an hour.

The idea for the new service came in response to questions asked by people using Community Action’s transport services. ‘When taking people out, they often mention problems around the home they need to sort out’ says Jacci Phillips, the charity’s Chief Officer. ‘It can be as simple as changing a lightbulb, an item that somebody might struggle to sort out by themselves.’

The service includes tasks like shopping, light housework and gardening, or it might be help dealing with phone calls and letters. ‘After last winter’s storms we helped one householder sort out a fence panel which had blown over’ says Jacci, ‘and we also helped one lady to choose a new car. Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more, you can speak with Yvonne on (01684) 892381.’

The charity sees itself as ‘A lifeline to the outside world’ for people in the Malvern area who find themselves isolated, whether from advancing years, illness, or disability. This year marks the charity’s 45th anniversary. Originally known as The Council of Community Service, it has grown and evolved over the years. Today it runs a small fleet of minibuses, two cars adapted to carry wheelchairs, and a team of volunteer drivers. The Community Bus service links rural communities around south Worcestershire and the Hills and is maintained by a network of not-for-profit operators and volunteers.

‘We take people to medical appointments, or to the shops, or to visit friends and relatives’ says Jacci. ‘These are journeys they couldn’t otherwise make. One volunteer took a person to the dentist – he then revealed it was the first time he’d been out for three years.’

To tackle this kind of social isolation, the charity recently launched its ‘Stuck In? Get Out!’ campaign, to encourage more people to use its services. Today, it regularly helps around 1,500 people with services like Shop Around, taking people on trips to places like Pershore or Ledbury. ‘It’s not only the chance to do some shopping, it’s also a social occasion’ says Jacci. ‘Our Sunday Tea Club started after we realised that many of those we help might not see anybody for an entire weekend. We now take them out for afternoon tea which is laid on by local churches and groups like the Brownies.’

Community Action Malvern and District always welcomes new volunteers - if you have a few hours to spare and can help with any of their services then please call (01684) 892381 or visit

www.communityaction.org.uk