Jean and Debbie

Jean is 91 years of age and has lived in rural North Norfolk all her life in a small village, two and a half miles from the nearest town.  Jean’s husband died many years ago and she now lives with her son who supports her full time but cannot provide all the care needed.

Jean remembers a time when her little village had a pub, a grocer, a fishmonger and even an undertaker.  There was no need to travel, even to the next town. Now none of those businesses exist. In a similar way, when a little extra help and care is needed people can find it difficult to come by when previous neighbourly bonds have all but disappeared.

Jean first had care at home several years ago following an operation.  At that time, she had the services of an agency.  Jean experienced a series of carers, most were nice people and good at their job, but there was no continuity and some travelled up to 20 miles for each visit, meaning arrival times could vary. Arrangements were changed and about two years ago Debbie started supporting Jean through her community enterprise.

They really are lovely people, I think the world of them.

Debbie on Jean and her family

Due to arthritis, Jean is no longer able to get around independently and needs help with getting up, washing, dressing as well as shopping and anything else that she may need on the day.  The continuity of seeing Debbie means that they have built a rapport and Jean doesn’t have to keep repeating what help she needs.  Living locally means Debbie arrives on time – she only lives 3 miles away and visits Jean every weekday morning and alternate weekends.

During snowy weather earlier this year, Debbie even arrived by a local farmer’s truck to make sure Jean was up and had everything she needed. A lovely example of local people pulling together to help local people.

Debbie is like a second daughter to me, nothing is too much trouble and I don’t know what I would do without her.


Community Catalysts helped Debbie to build on the skills she’d developed through various care-giver roles and to set up her own community enterprise which offers care and support in rural Norfolk. We provided the right guidance and advice around regulation and documents to help get Debbie up and running quickly.