Council begins trial of new initiative aimed at supporting elderly and disabled tenants in their homes

East Devon District Council’s housing service has begun a six month trial of a new handy person support service for elderly and disabled tenants. The trial, which started on 7 September, is taking place in Exmouth Town, Honiton and Axminster areas.

The scheme is open to all residents in sheltered accommodation, as well as all tenants over 70 years of age or those with a disability who are in receipt of benefit for that disability, and tenants who are on the individual garden maintenance scheme.

Developed as a result of tenant feedback, the handy person service will offer tenants involved in the scheme the use of a suitably experienced tradesperson who will carry out free minor home improvements and repairs.

Jobs that would normally be the responsibility of a tenant, such as changing a light bulb, draught proofing, bleeding radiators and minor fence repairs, as well as other small tasks such as putting up shelves or assembling flat pack furniture can all be undertaken by the handy person.

The council’s housing team is currently busy registering tenants for the handy person service. To sign up for the trial scheme, please call Kerry Spittle on 01395 517533 or email:

Councillor Jill Elson, portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities at East Devon District Council, said:

The handy person service will enhance the help and support that we currently offer our older and disabled tenants. It will enable us to carry out everyday jobs that are not normally our responsibility, but which will make our tenants lives that little bit easier.

For an elderly or disabled person, who doesn’t have friends or family to call on for help, even a relatively simple job such as changing a light bulb, becomes impossible when you have mobility issues. The free service we will be trialling should alleviate both the worry of getting these jobs done and the fear of being taken advantage of in terms of high charges. It will also offer the reassurance of having a tried and trusted, council-approved  contractor entering their home.

We hope that this six-month trial proves a success so we can extend it to all areas of East Devon.