Helping Hands Home & Garden Services
With the support of Community Catalysts and the Central Bedfordshire Community Micro-enterprise Project, Rachel has set up Helping Hands to offer responsive and flexible support in Biggleswade. Rachel works with older people, mainly offering support with gardening but also helps in the home with light housework and admin and offers companionship.
Rachel’s enterprise grew organically. At first, Rachel was approached by local people asking for help with their gardens. This quickly led to other support, such as practical tasks around people’s homes, especially during the winter months when people’s gardens needed less attention.
Rachel explains what she loves about her work:
The work I do is so varied each week. With some customers, I may go for a walk, for lunch, or simply sit and chat, where others may want help with more practical things like admin or gardening.
I am flexible with the way that I support people, and although I do not drive, I will support anyone who lives in Biggleswade.
I enjoy the flexibility of my work, as well as supporting local people in my community.
What did Community Catalysts do for Rachel?
The local Catalyst helped Rachel set up her community micro-enterprise; this has included help with promoting the enterprise and implementing key policies. The Catalyst also guided Rachel to consider the systems she needed to put in place to request and receive correct payment for her services.
This help to expand the range of services on offer contributed to Rachel securing more work during the winter months when there was a lesser need for gardening. Rachel now has around 40 customers she supports throughout the year. Rachel knows that the local Catalyst is always available to provide support where needed, whether via a phone conversation, an email or a chat over coffee.
What difference is Rachel’s enterprise making for local people?
Rachel’s service is flexible and adaptable. She offers regular weekly support or helps on an ad hoc basis where required.
Rachel shares some stories of local people she has been supporting:
Sometimes it’s the little things I do that make such a difference. I support an older married couple – they struggle to get around easily. I help them with various jobs, for example, by getting their Christmas decorations from the loft, which we then put up together. They say that “Rachel is always here for us, and we are very grateful for her support”.
Accompanying some customers to GP appointments is vital if they have no local family. They value me joining the appointment as it is another pair of ears. I have a number of customers who I support with appointments. One of them said, “I’m always appreciative of the time and support Rachel gives me. She is always cheerful and nothing is too much trouble”.
I have been supporting an older lady with a disability, who has certainly become more than ‘just a customer’. I support her with general appointments, admin and some gardening, but we also just sit and have a chat over a cup of tea. I arranged and attended an afternoon tea for her 90th birthday. She says that “Rachel is such a good support to me, in what she does and how she cares”.
You can find Helping Hands and other flexible, high quality community enterprises in the local area on the Central Bedfordshire Small Good Stuff directory.