Two organisations providing vital, tailored services to thousands of vulnerable people have been jointly crowned Home Improvement Agency Service of the Year.
Millbrook Healthcare and West of England (WE) Care & Repair received their awards at a ceremony held at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Richard Best.
The annual Home Improvement Agency Awards, organised by Foundations, celebrate the work of 170 social value-driven organisations throughout England that provide adaptations and other services designed to help disabled and older people live independently in their own homes.
Millbrook Healthcare impressed judges with its efforts to champion the work of home improvement agencies and its sharing of best practice. It has worked with local authorities to make assessments for Disabled Facilities Grant more flexible and reduced delivery times to just 12 weeks. This has resulted in more homes being adapted to make them accessible – reducing demand for care services in the process.
West of England Care & Repair, who is based in Bristol and also won the title in 2014 and 2016, managed to improve its performance despite having reduced funding. It also scooped The Innovation Award for the way in which it has redesigned its bathroom adaptations service for self-funders.
FILT – Foundations Independent Living Trust, the charitable arm of Foundations – secured funding from npower and the Department of Communities and Local Government for his role as floods officer at the council in recognition of the need for extra full-time support to help people get back on track and make their homes more resilient to future flooding.
Revival HIA in Stoke-on-Trent, which is part of Staffordshire Housing Group, is this year’s Handyperson Service of the Year. It has built close working relationships with local commissioners to support hospital discharge, winter warmth, victims of domestic violence and people at risk of crime. 97% of customers said they would recommend the service to others
Cheshire East Care & Repair has been crowned Home Adaptations Service of the Year, an award sponsored by accessible bathroom and kitchen manufacturer AKW. Run by Cheshire East Council, the team has streamlined the way they deliver Disabled Facilities Grants by reducing bureaucracy and focussing on how they can reduce admissions to hospital and residential care
Key features of its new policy include increasing the maximum grant amount from £30,000 to £50,000, supporting people to move to a more suitable property (where that is appropriate) and providing grants to foster carers of disabled children.
Winners and shortlisted organisations were joined by representatives from the Department for Communities and Local Government and leading charities including HACT, National Energy Action, Independent Age and Age UK at a ceremony in the House of Lords to celebrate their achievements.