Evergreen ‘Angels’ to care for the vulnerable in Stamford

A care charity is launching a new service that it hopes will fill a gap in elderly care left when sheltered housing wardens were withdrawn.

The Evergreen Care Trust, based in Stamford, will begin a pilot project called Evergreen Angels in November.

Paid and fully-trained charity staff will visit those who sign up to check their wellbeing. The “Angels” will also be available for emergency call-out to both sheltered and private housing.

The service will run seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Care will immediately be available between 8am and 8pm, and Evergreen is also hopeful it will also be able to offer a night service between 8pm to 8am from launch.

The charity has been working on the scheme since May. It hopes to fill a gap left by the withdrawal of South Kesteven District Council housing wardens. This happened in April when Lincolnshire County Council launched its new Wellbeing service. At the same time the authority stopped a stream of funding that the district had been using to pay for its warden scheme. The district council then decided to stop providing wardens.

Evergreen founder Louise Marsh said the loss of the wardens had a “profound” effect on many sheltered housing residents.

“They provided a vital communication link for the wider care network that has just been decimated,” she said. “GPs, district nurses, care providers are all feeling the impact.

“They were brilliant at telling us when someone’s condition was deteriorating.”

Mrs Marsh said one of the key things the new scheme would tackle was social isolation. She added: “We want to reintroduce that personal service.”

The Evergreen Angels scheme will initially be available to Stamford residents. If it is successful it will be rolled out in Bourne and the Deepings as well.

Those who sign up will be able to tailor the level of care to their needs. People can opt for day care, night care or a mix of both. Registration will include a basic monthly visit by two Angels, but people can arrange for more frequent visits according to their needs.

Those signed up to the county council’s Wellbeing scheme will also be able to have named Angels in their contacts should they have no family in the area or at all.

Mrs Marsh said: “We have spent months in consultation with residents, families, carers, former scheme managers and the new Wellbeing managers at the county council.

“Our concern was what would happen if we didn’t do something. We believe passionately that all care is about the relationships you build up and being there for people.”

Many sheltered housing residents in Stamford have been calling for a local 8pm to 8am night response service since the wardens were withdrawn.

“We hope the night service will address these concerns,” said Mrs Marsh.

The basic service will cost a similar amount to the old warden service. Residents used to pay £12 on top of their rent to the district council, with extra costs for extra visits. The new night service is expected to cost £1 per night.

Evergeen will need an extra £40,000 to launch the service in the first year, but hopes once it is up and running that it will become self-sustaining.

Mrs Marsh said: “We have kept the cost at an absolute minimum. There will be no profit.”

Evergreen Angels will launch on November 3. To find out more call 01780 765900 or e-mail office@evergreencare.org.uk.

Evergreen will hold its annual meeting at Barn Hill Methodist Church from 2.30pm on September 25.