Our ‘Housing Options’ working with our clients

Elizabeth was originally referred to WECHI after being admitted to Southmead Hospital and needing some cleaning and clearing work carried out at the property before being able to return home safely.

This work was completed using our Hospital Discharge funding. The original referral from the Hospital also mentioned that client would be open to advice on a move to more suitable accommodation.

I made an appointment to visit client with a view to discussing her current housing situation and advise what our Housing Options Service could assist in way of support. During the visit Elizabeth advised me she had lived in the two bedrooms first floor flat for the last 30 years, having first moved there with her late father.

The after affects of a fall have severely restricted her mobility and with no lift negotiating the stairs to the flat has become a very difficult and painful task.

It had also contributed to her becoming lonely and isolated in her current flat, and only going out to hospital appointments with assistance from ambulance crew. We discussed possible options for more suitable housing to make life easier and safer for her in the future. She wanted to remain in the same area of Bristol and live independently preferably in a Ground Floor Flat, or a complex with a lift. Arrangements were made with three Estate Agents to obtain valuations of her current property, and client then chose her preferred selling Agent. A buyer was found quite quickly who offered the full asking price, and we then began the search for an alternative property.

As an offer had been accepted on her property, we had a budget to base our search criteria. As she was an internet user, Elizabeth was able to use the Property search engines in the hunt for somewhere more suitable. I also assisted with this task and we both identified a One Bedroom Ground Floor Flat in Henleaze that provided most of her requirements. I made the necessary arrangements with the selling Agent to view the property and accompanied her to the viewing. The property provided many of Elizabeth’s requirements and she was keen to purchase the property. After some negotiations an offer was accepted on the Flat. I then obtained quotes for the conveyancing work and the sale and purchase was able to proceed. While the conveyancing was taking place arrangements were made for Removal quotes, and preparations made in advance of moving date. After a few hiccups during the conveyancing process the relevant transactions were completed, and the various tasks of changing address and notifying service providers were undertaken.

As there was going to be some residue from the property transactions Elizabeth would be able to spend some money on adapting the bathroom to meet her needs, while also acquiring other items to make her life easier and safer.

I arranged for the installation of new white goods, also replacement blinds that were easier to use. One of our Trusted Electrical Contractors made some additions to the electrics to eliminate trailing wires for client’s laptop. Our Handypersons Service were able to lower window handles and adjust internal doors. Arrangements were also made for a Recliner Chair Supplier to visit the property and demonstrate to Elizabeth the various options prior to making a purchase. I was also able to recommend a Cleaning Company to visit on a regular basis to carry out domestic work in the flat. The final piece of work was the bathroom adaptation, which involved the removal of the bath and the installation of a level access shower. WECHI were able to arrange for this work be done and the finished bathroom allows Elizabeth to use the shower safely and independently.

This case shows what a difference our Housing Options Funding can make to an individual’s life and help future proof them for the years ahead. I will leave the last word to Elizabeth who informed me of “how happy and pleased she was with her new flat, and the positive difference it had made to her life”.

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    Garden Fencing – We Care about your security

    Does your garden fencing need some TLC?

    It’s official – summer is here! It’s felt like a very long year up until now. We’re finally able to enjoy our gardens a lot more now that lockdown is easing and the sun is shining. And the one thing that we at We Care are always thinking about when we get outside is our garden fencing. So now you’re outside, take a look at yours. How is it looking? Starting to slump slowly? A bit of wood rot here and there? Do you even have a fence anymore?!

    Now that you’ve had a good gander, you might be looking to replace some of those broken fence panels or to improve the security of your garden. You may even be thinking of changing the look of your garden, or perhaps you just want some privacy back. In any case, we can help you by installing fences that look great as well as protect the security of your home’s boundary.

    Let’s talk wood

    Fences are generally a lot cheaper to install than having brick walls built up. They are a more attractive option than brickwork too, and a permanent fixture compared to hoarding or woven bamboo. Garden fencing can come in different styles – such as slat style, which is contemporary but offers less privacy, or the more traditional overlap style. If you want to change the look and feel of your garden, there are many options. Wooden panels can be treated then stained or painted to suit you and the vibe you’re going for.

    Your garden, your security

    If you are looking to keep pets, children or other loved ones safe, it is important to have secure fencing in place, ideally installed by an experienced garden maintenance technician. They’ll be able to give you the best advice on the best type of fence panels for the job as well as complete the installation to the highest standard.

    A garden maintenance technician can advise you on the height and thickness you require for the optimal security and how you can section off or partition your garden with panels or metal railings and balustrades if necessary. Let them know what you would like to achieve by having the fence installed. Do you want to be able to see over it? Do you want plants to climb up it? If so, there are options for heights and trellis attachments to meet your needs.

    We repair, we replace

    If you already have fences in place that just need replacing, then you might be able to use the existing posts for that fencing. However, we can replace them if they are rotten or broken, as part of the set prices that we offer for replacements. Our garden maintenance technicians like to carry out a free site survey in the first instance so that they can have a chat with you, take a look at your garden and current boundary fences, then give you a quote from there.

    Have the fence you fancy

    The most popular type of fencing is the classic simple overlap wooden fencing, also known as lap panel fencing. If you prefer we can offer you other styles such as panel boards or specialist designs to make your garden stand out – if that’s your thing! The panels will be installed pre-treated, meaning that a protective coat of wood treatment is applied to them before we even arrive at your home. There are a couple of different ways to treat wood, so do ask your maintenance technician about this and any tips they have for maintaining your fence so that it lasts for years to come.

    Fence posts can be either made from timber or concrete. Concrete is, of course, a stronger option requiring no further maintenance like treatment. However, it is a more costly option and arguably less attractive. We aim to install wooden posts or work with the current posts you might have installed to keep the cost down and for them to mirror the wooden panels to be installed. Your garden maintenance technician will happily discuss the pros and cons with you during the initial garden survey.

    We’re here to help – even after installation

    Should your new fences need to be treated annually or biannually or if you’re considering getting them painted too, don’t forget that we can give you all the advice that you need or even do it for you. Our garden technicians have deep knowledge in all aspects of garden maintenance. There’s nothing they like better than having a chat about ways to improve your garden. With decades of combined experience between them, they are ready for you to test their knowledge and skill.

    If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you get the most out of your whole garden as well as the garden fencing, don’t hesitate to drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter. You can send us an email at info@wecr.org.uk to enquire about our gardening team or fill out our contact form here on the website. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

    Spring Cleaning – it’s not just about dusting!

    Spring cleaning brush


    Spring has now most definitely sprung, and we want to talk about some things that we all forget when we’re about our Spring cleaning routine.


    You may be looking at the bookshelf and wondering, as you dust, if some of those Stephen King novels might be better off at the local St Peter’s Hospice shop. You may be thinking of tackling some more gruesome tasks that you’ve been putting off, like cleaning behind the fridge (gulp!).


    However, there are some other essential maintenance and repairs around and outside of your home that need some more serious attention. We’re all guilty of delaying things and putting them out of our minds when they seem a chore. You don’t want to end up with a worse mess later though, when now is the perfect time to get a handyman or handywoman out to nip it in the bud…


    Sorry about the pun!


    I know what you’re thinking – it’s all well and good us saying this. After all, we’ve got a team of handypeople right here to impart advice to us about home maintenance every day. Well, we want to share their expertise with you and help make you and your loved ones’ lives a little easier. Here are some important things to look out for that our squad of experts can take care of for you.


    Now we need to preface this by saying that we aren’t a “cleaning” service per se, but we can help a little bit in that area, as you’ll see below. So don’t sack Julie the cleaner just yet! I’m sure she’s a much better choice for swabbing the decks and scrubbing the surfaces than we would be.


    So without further ado, here’s our guide to the top jobs we can do for you in the Spring.


    Around the homeSpring Cleaning


    There are lots of little general tasks about the house that you might have been delaying whilst hunkering down for the cold winter. Maybe you’ve had some nice Bristol Blue Glass for Christmas that you’d like to display. We can help with putting up shelving, either out of the box or made-to-measure by us. Not to forget assembling the Ikea flat-pack furniture that’s been sat in the box waiting for you to get fed up of piles on the floor. Our carpenters can take on anything you like, and there’s no such thing as a job too small. We do two-man jobs for the larger furniture – safety first!


    We’re often finding that we are asked to move furniture around the home. We don’t do removals, but we can help to move a bed or a sofa or any other larger items of furniture to accommodate your needs. We have much experience in adapting homes for patients returning home from the hospital where a hospital bed is to be delivered. Like a real-life game of Tetris, we can configure your living spaces to the way you would like them to be or offer some advice on practical solutions.


    Are you finding that you have to put your shoulder into getting into the living room because of that sticky door? Our carpenters are dab-hands at internal doors. We can hang them, trim them, even replace handles and knobs on existing doors. We’ll source the right shapes and styles for you and give you a quote for the work if it’s something non-standard. It’s no trouble at all. Doors should be easily opened and closed for ease of access and safety. We’re very keen on helping sort them out for you.


    Windows are another often forgotten set of fixtures. Sure, Jim the window cleaner comes around once a month to give them a wash and a squeegee, but how is the sealing looking? If the sealant is coming away we might be able to help you replace it, as well as repair or replace sticky handles and dodgy locks. If we can’t, we know some great local contractors who don’t cost the earth that can repair and replace windows and frames.


    We should also mention that it’s a good idea to look at your blinds and curtains as well. Are they starting to look lop-sided or the blinds won’t open properly? Repairing and replacing blinds and curtains is important for privacy and security – if curtains and blinds remain open or drawn for long stretches of time it could look like a property is vacant and an easy target… So, it’s a good idea to gave them taken care of. It’s a quick fix for privacy and peace.


    It’s also a good time to think about replacing any light bulbs that have blown. We often source light bulbs for our customers so they don’t have to – everything from simple ES27 Edison screw bulbs up to fluorescent tube and coil-shaped bulbs. It’s also wise to have any switches and cords that might be broken repaired or replaced. They should also be inspected to make sure that they are safe and functioning correctly. Whilst we’re up there, we can clear out any dead flies or dust from the fixtures that might be causing an issue or blocking light out where it’s needed the most. Same goes for air vents and ceiling fans because you want them working well and not blocked up or scattering dust about your home!


    In the bathroom

    Cleaning bathroom tap


    How are your drains and plug holes looking? Hair and fluff can block them up steadily over time. Perhaps the plug is also perishing after many years of use, causing the opposite issue. Time to inspect those now if the water is draining away slowly or draining when you don’t want it to.


    Leaking taps are a nuisance with their constant “drip-drip-drip”. That’s money down the drain quite literally if you’re on a water meter. Replacing tap washers is a simple but effective first step. We are well versed in this as you’d expect, as well as replacing whole tap fixtures. Are you finding turning those old-style taps difficult nowadays? You might consider replacing them with lever taps or a mixer style tap for ease of use. This can be done in the shower as well – if you don’t have an electric power-shower that is.


    In either case, the showerhead can also get clogged over time as hard water leads to limescale. This can be cleaned, or replaced if it’s broken or leaky. Shower doors and screens may have similar problems if the seals are worn, cracked or broken. Again, these can simply be replaced. Better to have them swapped out than for the leaking to go onto the bathroom floor where water is definitely not wanted.


    Tiling and grouting repairs can be a chore. Panelling is all the rage these days because it cuts down on cleaning and maintenance. Of course, if you have an over-bath shower this might not be suitable for you. You might consider having a wet-room or level access shower room for ease of bathing as well as ease of cleaning. This is an area that we have a lot of expertise in, so don’t hesitate to ask us about what it entails, or see our helpful web page on the subject.


    In the garden and outside your home Gardening


    Ah the garden. We all want to enjoy it as much as possible, especially in the current lockdown. We’re performing limited garden works at the moment, with a focus on safety first rather than aesthetic. However, do check back with us in the coming months as the coronavirus situation changes, because we would definitely like to resume our full garden maintenance service as soon as possible.


    Some things that aren’t commonly done but can make your garden safer and more pleasing to the eye include having the lawn mowed, bushes trimmed back, paving stones and paths jet washed, sheds being repaired or built, and decking stained.


    We continue to offer a full gutter cleaning service, using a very nice piece of kit called a Skyvac that thoroughly cleans the entire guttering around the perimeter of the house without us even having to get on a ladder! It’s got a camera that lets our handyperson see all the action ensuring we don’t miss a single leaf. Though for more tricky blockages we will certainly get up the ladder and give it some elbow grease.


    It’s also always wise to have your roof inspected by someone qualified. Our technical officers can take a look for you and offer some advice. It can be hard to see if there is a slipped tile or problems with the shingles until it’s too late and you’ve got a leak, so it’s worth enquiring about how we can help.


    Phew! I know – that’s a lot of things to look out for.

    You may not want to have all these things taken care of at once, or cannot afford to. Don’t forget that we can offer a subsidised rate on some of the works that we do. You may be eligible for a grant or a low-cost loan to help with some larger repairs or maintenance – please call us on 0300 323 0700 or email info@wecareandrepair.org.uk if you’d like some more information about this. It’s our passion and our pleasure to help you with all aspects of home improvements and maintenance, throughout the year.

    6 tips for choosing a reliable handyperson

    Are you looking for a reliable handyperson to do some jobs around your home?

    We Care Handy Person Service

    Whether it’s fixing a leaking tap, cleaning out the guttering or changing a light switch it can be hard to find a reliable handyperson you can trust to do the work. And if the work is for an elderly close relative and you don’t live in the area it can be even harder. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to minimise the risk and keep stress levels to a minimum.

    1. Get more than one quote

    But remember cheapest is not always best. Three quotes will give you an idea of the market price and is a good way to ensure you are not being overcharged. At the same time be wary of any quote that is suspiciously low as you don’t want someone who is going to cut corners or use cheap materials. Which takes us to our next point…

    2. Do your research

    Ask friends or relatives if they can recommend a reliable handyperson. You can also check what people are saying online. Most organisations will have been reviewed by previous customers on Google or Facebook.

    3. Look for independent approval

    Choosing an organisation that has been assessed and approved by an external body such as the Buy with Confidence scheme from Trading Standards Approved or Which magazine can give you some reassurance as to the good standing of the organisation. Some organisations such as ourselves have long-standing relationships with local councils which can also be a mark of trustworthiness.

    4. Don’t be intimidated and do ask questions

    If the handyperson or customer service representative is using language you don’t understand then tell them and ask can they give it to you in layman terms. An organisation that cares about its customers will understand this and adjust their lingo accordingly.

    5. Go with your gut instinct

    If someone makes you uncomfortable either over the phone or face to face, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to relax when they doing work are in your home. And it is your home. It’s important that you feel at ease in your own residence.

    6. Don’t pay until the job is done

    This is an important one and one you should absolutely stick to. Never pay a handyperson in full up front unless you know they are trustworthy from experience. However, there may be times when a deposit or an advanced payment for materials is appropriate.

    How we can help

    We Care have been in the home maintenance business for over 30 years and we’re pleased to say that our handyperson service is Trading Standards Approved and our handymen can handle a multitude of different jobs.  We are an approved supplier to Bristol, Bath & NE Somerset and Gloucestershire councils, so you can be sure that our work is of a very high standard.

    To find out more visit our Handy Person service page. Or call us on 0300 323 0700 for a no-obligation chat with our team.