Age UK Norfolk celebrate first birthday of pioneering service

A pioneering service offering assistance for those who value their independence but could do with a helping hand is looking to the future after a year of success.

Age UK Norfolk will tomorrow mark the first birthday of its Household Helpers scheme, which launched in Norwich but is planned to be rolled out across the county in the coming years.

The scheme offers those paying a small fee the opportunity to have someone drop round their house once a week and do the cleaning and shopping, and is available for everyone.

Age UK staff additionally offer to do chores like ironing and laundry, and are specially trained to identify customers who could be helped by the organisation's other services.

One of those benefiting is 86-year-old Arnold Hoskins, who lives in west Norwich.

With his wife Joyce now in nearby Brooklands Care Home, keeping the place tidy is proving more difficult than it used to be, and Mr Hoskins said that the hour of Friday morning help from Age UK worker Jenny Lemmon was a godsend.

The former environmental health officer added: 'I am not a doddery old fool but looking after the bungalow had got a bit much, and thanks to Jenny it's the standard I want it to be.

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'She does a wonderful job and though I wasn't struggling too much it has proved to be a big relief having someone do the cleaning regularly.

'I think the scheme is remarkable because it is regular and because of the thoroughness of the work that they do.'

Launched with a pilot scheme that involved just six tenants from Grays Fair Court in New Costessey, it now serves 70 regular customers. Many of those have found out about the service through word of mouth, or by being referred to it after calling the Age Concern Norfolk phoneline.

And with a team of 10 staff at the moment they are also appealing for new Household Helpers to get on board for both the Norwich and King's Lynn areas.

Sam Woods is the Household Helpers service manager. She said: 'Age Uk Norfolk is delighted to be celebrating the first anniversary of our Household Helpers service.

'The service is designed to help people live independently in their own homes by helping with household cleaning and supermarket shopping. We are committed to providing a flexible, high quality service that represents value for money, from a name you can trust.'

It costs �14.25 an hour plus VAT to use the Household Helpers service, while those with needs do not have to pay the VAT.

To find out more, or to become a Household Helper, go to or call 01603 785200.

•Are you benefiting from a new care scheme? Call reporter John Owens on 01603 772439.