East Devon District Council's two new handy persons, whose services have been in great demand by elderly and disabled council tenants

Demand for free Handy Person service means trial area will now be extended to include all of East Devon

The new Handy Person service, which in September 2015 began a six-month trial in Exmouth Town, Honiton and Axminster, has already proved such a success, that East Devon District Council has decided to roll out the trial across the entire district until the end of February 2016, which is when the trial concludes.

Over 320 people in the trial areas have registered to use the scheme, which is available to all tenants living in the council’s sheltered accommodation, as well as tenants who are over 70 years in age and those with a disability, who are receiving benefit for their disability.

Tenants, council officers and councillors recently gathered to celebrate the early success of the trial, which East Devon’s Housing Review Board has agreed to extend, as it was clear from tenants’ responses that it is a much needed and popular service. Tenants from other parts of East Devon have also expressed an interest in the scheme, proving that there is a high level of demand for this type of support.

Handy Persons in place

The council’s contractors - EmmDee and Skinners –are supporting the scheme by providing two Handy Persons to carry out the work. Tim Payne is covering the west of East Devon and Dave Loosemore is dealing with jobs in the east of the district.

Tim and Dave both drive vans that are decorated with the Handy Person logo and can be clearly identified from Handy Person branded polo shirts, which they wear.

The Chairman of East Devon District Council’s Housing Review Board Committee, Councillor Pauline Stott, said:

The handy person service is an excellent and highly practical initiative, which helps elderly and disabled tenants with small jobs around the house. The scheme not only makes life easier for them, but also gives them peace of mind. I am delighted that we are now able to roll out this service across the whole of East Devon – not just the trial areas – so that all eligible tenants can benefit from it.

Comments from satisfied tenants who have used the service

Sandra Ward, from Kilmington, said: “It was so simple to apply for the handy person scheme.  Dave called me and came out and fixed my TV to the wall.  It was such a joy to have it put there.  If anyone else is thinking of using it, please, please ring through and apply. It’s a great service!”

Mrs Moore, from Exmouth, said: ‘Tim was very good. He put up a new curtain rail that I’d bought and also tightened up a small table for me, which had become wobbly.  While he was there I showed him our bath panel, which had become very shabby.  He found a new one and fitted it for me.  I didn’t have to pay for this.  It’s a very good service and I hope many more tenants will use it.”

Mrs Rock, a tenant at Burnside, was also very pleased with the handy person scheme.  She had some pictures put up for her – one of which was of special sentimental value as her late husband had had it painted from her photograph when he was serving with the army in Italy in World War 2.

Helping celebrate the trial were:

East Devon District Councillors Mrs Pauline Stott and Steve Gazzard

East Devon District Council tenants: Harry Roberts, Joyce Ebborn, Janet Sullivan, John Powley, Victor Kemp

East Devon District Council officers: Amy Gilbert (Property and Asset Manager), Mark Dale (Senior Technical Officer);

East Devon District Council’s contractors: Andrew Sturgess, Skinners, John Kauz and Neville Gubb; East Devon District Council’s contractors EmmDee: Handy Persons – Tim Payne and Dave Loosemore

How the Handy Person scheme works

The Handy Person service is free for jobs that will take up to about one hour to complete (excluding electrical or decoration jobs). During the trial period, tenants are allowed up to three visits in the trial period, which equates to one visit every two months.

How to register/use the Handy Person service

Eligible council tenants who are interested in registering for the trial scheme should telephone 01395 517533 or email: handyperson@eastdevon.gov.uk. To arrange for a Handy Person visit, scheme members should call one of the council’s repair advisors on: 01395 517458 or email: repairs@eastdevon.gov.uk