Making life that bit easier for the older folk of Erewash

Community Concern staff from left, volunteer manager, Elaine Scogings, admin co-ordinator, Kim Barker and laundry manager, Sue Gordon.
Community Concern staff from left, volunteer manager, Elaine Scogings, admin co-ordinator, Kim Barker and laundry manager, Sue Gordon.

Not every town is lucky enough to have its own dedicated team to help out the older generation.

In Ilkeston and Long Eaton Community Concern Erewash, based on Bright Street, is on hand to provide a range of services for older and vulnerable people..

Claude prepares to tuck in to his dinner at the lunch club on Shirebrook Close in Ilkeston.

Claude prepares to tuck in to his dinner at the lunch club on Shirebrook Close in Ilkeston.

Elaine Scogings, volunteer manager of 14 years, oversees up to 60 volunteers, as well as staff, at any one time.

This includes a Home Comforts team who do decorating and gardening jobs for people who are unable to do it themselves. The service was started after some elderly people said they feared they would be evicted if their home and garden was not up to standard. The work enables clients to remain living in their own homes for longer. Daniel Shaw, who is one of a team of three who carry out the work, said: “We did around 300 jobs last year. At the moment we have been delivering winter survival kits which contain a blanket, hot water bottle, fleece, torch and a food parcel.”

The kits are for vulnerable people who often can’t afford to heat their whole house.

Elaine Summerfield is a laundry driver for CCE and has recently taken on a new role running a pilot dementia project, which involves making the homes of people with dementia safer.

She said: “With dementia people see things black and white so we adapt their kitchens and bathrooms with bright colours and remove mirrors as some people don’t realise that they are old and that it’s them in the mirror. They often start talking to someone they think is there. We also remove patterned rugs as they can see the shapes as animals. The lads might also paint the walls a different colour.”

The dementia pilot scheme is a free service, funded by Derbyshire County Council, Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group and the Dunhill Trust.

When Erewash Community Concern began 23 years it started out as a lunch club. This is still going and runs on a Tuesday and Friday. Those who want to go along just need to register.

Former miner, Michael Needham, lead volunteer in the kitchen, said: “It makes our day when we see people enjoy their meal.”

Other services include a Dinners For You Service, which provides hot meals for people in Ilkeston and Kirk Hallam. This sees three to four volunteers delivering the low cost meals.

Elaine Scogings said they need are currently in need of volunteers for all of their projects, including drivers to deliver the meals and people to work in the kitchen. But it is the befriending service where they are most in need. Elaine said: “The befriending service is where volunteers go to visit someone in their own home for an hour. We need volunteers for that, there are eight people on the waiting list but no volunteers to match them to.”

All volunteers have an interview, two references and a DBS check because they are going into people’s houses.

A friendship club for people over 50 is also held at the Flamsteed Centre, every two weeks, on a Wednesday afternoon, and a ten week training course for people over 50 starts this week at the Arena church. It covers I.T, healthy living and living on a budget.

More information can be found at communityconcernerewash.co.uk