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Carers hope we’ll keep saying ‘hello’ to our neighbours this winter

Published: 12th January 2021 11:56

A LEADING Devon home care provider is stepping up its support for a charity campaign for people each lunchtime to open their windows and shout ‘hello’ to their neighbours (January 2021).

HomeLife Carers, operating across Devon, says it’s continuing to back the initiative throughout winter when elderly and vulnerable people could be feeling at their lowest. 

Katie Jewell, Regional Manager of HomeLife, which has offices in Barnstaple, Okehampton, Plymouth and Tiverton, says: “We provide an invaluable lifeline to the people we visit each day to help them with their medical, emotional and physical care. Before the Coronavirus, our frontline teams also assisted many of our service users with trips out. Now they are, very sensibly, all remaining safely at home until the danger has passed. But in the meantime, for many of those we visit, we know they are feeling lonelier and more vulnerable than ever, especially now any Christmas fun they may have had is over. 

“We saw Communicare in Southampton’s idea on social media earlier in the year and thought it would help cheer-up our service users, who are understandably not feeling as jolly as normal, and are worried. Communicare is a charity, helping the isolated and lonely, and although it is based in Southampton, it is promoting its campaign nationwide. 

“Each lunchtime, they’re asking anyone who is at home, regardless of whether they are vulnerable and elderly, to shout ‘cooee’ or ‘hello’, or any form of friendly greeting, from an open window or over the garden fence, wall or hedge, at a safe social distance, to their next door neighbours. Obviously, we don’t want people to get cold so wrap up warm before doing so.

“We hope enough people will do this at 12noon in south Devon and nationwide every day to help those who are housebound at the moment realise they are not alone. We think this is a great idea, not just for our service users but also for anyone at home in these uncertain times, who might like to hear a cheery voice.”

Communicare in Southampton is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that wants to eradicate loneliness and isolation in the city with the assistance of its band of Communiteers, who volunteer to give their time freely. 

 Manager at Communicare, Annie Clewlow, who comes from Devon and has family in the county, says: “Many people, not just the elderly, are struggling as they are missing out on the socialisation they would normally have whether through clubs, exercise groups or work.  

“Earlier last year, we launched the hashtag #Cooee and asked people through our social media channels to shout this, or any form of friendly greeting, from an open window or over the garden fence, wall or hedge, at a safe social distance, to their next-door neighbours. 

“We’d love to see this continue throughout January. Even if they can’t see their neighbours, or their windows aren’t open, we hope enough people will continue to do this at 12noon nationwide, every day, to help those who are housebound realise they are not alone.”

Katie and her team want to hear from kind, honest and reliable people who are considering making a career for themselves in the care industry and would like to find out more. 

Katie added: “We are always working to battle social isolation among our elderly and vulnerable service users. Providing emotional care is just as important as physical assistance and we are doing our upmost to make sure our service users don’t feel lonely or isolated, especially in the winter months.

“We delivered care to those we look after during the Christmas period in the way we would like our loved ones to be cared for. We currently employ nearly 200 carers across south Devon and are looking for 100 new honest and kind-hearted individuals to help add to our teams in the county this and next year.

“We wish to provide the right candidates with job security within the care industry and those that have the right skills and aptitude can have a job for life with us. We want to utilise the skills and knowledge they already have, as well as offer them more training within our sector.

“Being a carer is a highly skilled, professional vocational occupation that is essential to the fabric of our society and the beauty of a job for life means people can start at the very bottom and work their way up with training and qualifications.

“We are looking for kind, honest, caring and reliable individuals who wish to have a stable and long-term career in care, and who would like to forge rewarding relationships with the service users they care for.

“No experience is necessary to become a carer, as free, full training is provided. We offer new recruits a five-day training induction and a 12-week on-boarding programme working towards a care certificate. We also offer flexible working hours, both full and part-time, as well as competitive wages and generous holiday allocation. It is a great opportunity for people to achieve a recognised qualification.”

New recruits are given free uniforms, access to a national staff discount scheme for many major brands, such as online and in-store retailers, including Tesco, Primark and Argos. It also covers holidays and electrical goods. 

Employees receive 28 days paid holiday, paid travel between calls and paid mileage too.

For more information about HomeLife, please visit https://www.homelifecarers.co.uk

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