Social Enterprise launches new service for older people creating 200 jobs
Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprise, Bryson Charitable Group, has announced an investment of £90,000 and the creation of 200 new jobs, as it launches the new One2One service through Bryson Care.
The new, privately funded, paid-for service will provide home support for those caring for older people. This new service demonstrates Bryson’s ongoing commitment to tackling major social and economic challenges.
Bryson’s latest initiative will offer services that include support with shopping, chaperoning to appointments, befriending, respite, light housework and meal preparation, to name but a few.
The new initiative is in response to the Review of Health and Social Care in NI in 2011, which set out plans for greater community involvement in the care of older people. Up until recently, such services were funded by the respective Health Trusts, which have now been reduced orstop altogether.
The new One2One service has employed 20 staff to date, with 180 paid-for care roles to be filled over the next 18 months across Northern Ireland, with the aim of assisting up to 3,500 elderly people in that time.
A major driver for introducing the new service was in part due to the result of research carried out by post-graduate students at Ulster University Business School (UUBS). Following the NHS budget cuts, a group of 25 mature students were asked by board members of Bryson Care, to research the viability of such a service to serve the ageing Northern Ireland population.
As Jo Marley, Director, Bryson Care explained: “Following the review of Health and Social Care, which set out plans for greater community involvement in the care of older people as close to the home as possible, we set about exploring the need for a private service offered by Bryson.
“We engaged with Ulster University, whose students’ carried out intensive groundwork research into the need for such a service. The research, undertaken as part of UUBS Professor Mark Durkin’s Marketing module, confirmed an urgent need across Northern Ireland.
“Our existing Bryson Care package offered low level support for people in their homes but we knew the time had come to offer more. Our new package provides real support to the elderly and vulnerable in our society and can help with anything from companionship, to shopping through to housework.
“From the research we know that people are now trying to pay for such care privately and our organisation has the experience and access to support and training to deliver key services compassionately, having supported communities here since 1906.
Jo concluded: “I urge anyone who feels they can benefit from this service – whether they are caring for an elderly loved-one, or they themselves are in need of help and support outside of family - to get in touch with our team as soon as possible where we can provide a home-visit and set the service up very quickly.”
One of the first service users to sign up to the new initiative, Jim Dick age 91 from Belfast commented: “I would like to thank Bryson Care for introducing me to this wonderful service.
“I have lived on my own for the past five years, and this new service has been something I have really enjoyed and has made a real difference to my life.
"To have a smiling, friendly face to come into the house each week, is lovely and to have someone to talk to brightens my day.
Jim concluded: “I get help with washing, hovering and a bit of laundry. It’s a great service that I would recommend to others.”
The new service launches amid reports that one million elderly people across Britain live on their own and 500,000 of them are expected to spend this Christmas Day alone.
Just last month the outgoing Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge, told the BBC that home care services across Northern Ireland's five health trusts were at breaking point - that care being provided is failing to meet older people's needs due to underinvestment.
For further information on Bryson Care One2One, phone 028 9034 7731 or visit www.brysonone2one.org