East Devon Handy Person Tim Payne helps out Mrs Fletcher by doing a few small jobs around her home

Tenants delighted with handy person service – “It’s a wonderful service”, “So helpful”, “I recommend it to everyone”

East Devon District Council’s trial handy person scheme, which was due to end in February 2016, has proved such a success with council tenants across the district, that it is now being extended for a further six months until the end of August 2016.

The extension will give the housing service a full year’s worth of data to evaluate and the results will determine whether it is feasible for the council to run this service in the future.

The scheme, which began in September 2015 is aimed at helping elderly and disabled tenants with small jobs around the home. The idea for the service was developed by the Repairs Service Review Group, together with tenants, councillors and East Devon officers, working as part of a Task and Finish Forum (TAFF).

Feedback from tenants who have used the Handy Person Service, indicate that the Handy Person team provides much needed assistance, affording peace of mind, as well as making life easier. One particularly popular job was the Festive Loft Offer, where East Devon’s two Handy Persons cleared out tenants’ lofts, bringing down decorations, Christmas trees and other items for use during the Christmas period, while at the same time checking on the condition of the loft space, including insulation and fire breaks.

Mrs Fletcher, Exmouth

Tim, the Exmouth handy man, has been wonderful.  He’s always smiling and nothing’s too much.  So far he’s fitted a safety chain to my front door, put up a wire for net curtains, and brought down all the stuff from my loft.  This even included a Christmas tree I didn’t know I had – I put it up and it looked so pretty in my living room. The scheme is such a help and I’ll certainly be using it again.  I can recommend it to everyone.

Mrs Jones, Axminster

It’s a wonderful service.  I’m now on my own and I can’t get up into the loft these days.  Dave, the handy man, has been so helpful.  I’ll certainly use the service again for other small jobs.

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

Everyone is so pleased that their initial idea is proving popular. We will do everything we possibly can to find a way to keep the handy person service running after the trial period comes to an end and we are currently looking at various ways we can do this.

It is clear that there is a huge demand for this service. There are so many small jobs that need doing around the home, such as changing light bulbs, bleeding radiators and minor plumbing repairs, which elderly or disabled tenants cannot readily do. I am so glad that we can make a difference to people’s lives by offering to carry out these minor tasks – they might seem small to us, but they mean a lot to those tenants who are physically unable to do them.

Harry Roberts, chairman of the Repairs Steering Group and member of the TAFF, said:

I’m delighted that this scheme is proving to be a success. The Repair service review group (made up of tenants and officers) originally came up with the idea, which was developed further by a Task and Finish Forum made up of tenants, councillors and staff.  We’re pleased to see this trial being put in place and working well.

What the handy person scheme offers

  • Jobs should not be too large – the council allows approximately one hour per job.  Tenants will need to supply the items they want put up, such as shelving or furniture.  But the handy persons carry a supply of screws, WD40 and other basic items.
  • The jobs that the handy person can do include minor work, which would normally be the tenant’s responsibility, for example; changing a light bulb, re-fixing plugs, resetting trips and fuses, draught proofing, bleeding radiators, minor fence repairs and minor plumbing repairs, including plumbing in a washing machine.
  • The handy person can also help with other small day to day tasks such as, putting up shelves or curtain poles, assembling small flat pack furniture items and putting up pictures. 

Further information about the Handy Person Scheme is available from the Housing Project Officers. Telephone: 01395 519982 or email handyperson@eastdevon.gov.uk. Or visit the Handy Person page on the East Devon website.