A social enterprise dedicated to providing high quality home care to older people in north Northumberland has been launched with the help of a loan from Big Issue Invest.
Bell View Help at Home is a social enterprise which delivers home care with an emphasis on well-being, allowing older people to socialise with others and live successfully in their own homes.
Bell View is a registered charity which has been in operation since 1998 and runs a purpose built resource centre in Belford, Northumberland, offering care and support facilities for the elderly in the area. Now, thanks to a loan from Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, Bell View has established a new Help at Home service, to provide reliable and consistent care and support to older people in their own homes.
“We wanted to deliver an innovative way of providing care for older people,” says Jane Field, Service Development Manager at Bell View. “Not like the old kind of home care, chucking breakfast in front of you and going out the door. We wanted to offer an integrated package of support to people in the community.
“Although, in many ways, a social enterprise is just like any other type of business, it can be difficult for traditional lenders to see that our aims go beyond profit, and they are sometimes wary to lend to us. That’s where Big Issue Invest came in.”
Rod Jones, Regional Director for the North East and Cumbria at Big Issue Invest, explains: “As a lender we exist to help worthwhile social businesses like Bell View Help at Home to access the funding they need to grow and develop, so that they can help more people and communities.”
Running a home care service in an area which covers 150 square miles between Alnwick and Berwick is no mean feat. Qualified carers help with everything from supermarket trips to cleaning, but older people are also offered the chance to get out of the house and join lunch clubs at Belford day centre or in participating village halls. Local volunteers help out with transport and befriending services, making it a true community enterprise.
Bell View Help at Home has been going since February, and is already delivering over 300 hours of care a week, allowing elderly people to remain independent and live more flexibly in their own communities. Those who otherwise might be housebound by chronic illness have still been able to get out and do their own shopping, while one lady uses Help at Home two days a week to give her family a break or when her other carers go on holiday.
Families are pleased, too. One customer said: “The Help at Home service is the best thing that has happened to our family. My father is like a different man.”
Rod Jones adds: “Bell View Help at Home is a revolutionary service providing real care for elderly people, allowing them to remain independent and live more flexibly in their own communities, and Big Issue Invest is pleased to have been able to help them.
“At a time when many small businesses are struggling to access finance, Big Issue Invest is here to support social businesses in the North East, be they charities, co-operatives or social enterprises like Help at Home. People can find out more at our website www.bigissueinvest.com.”