Councillor Wants Park House To Employ Home Help For Vulnerable Islanders

Park House

Park House

A St Martin’s councillor has called on Park House to employ a home help worker, to ensure vulnerable people can continue living independently on the islands.

Cllr Colin Daly told Tuesday’s Community Services meeting that he, himself, had recently been in that position.

Colin says in 2010 he fell and broke his hip and was disabled for a considerable period. His late wife also needed looking after during that time.

But he said he had received “practically no help” from the Council with day-to-day living.

Colin said he was given a living allowance, so was willing to pay for help, but couldn’t find anyone to take on the work.

And he said on the off-islands, there isn’t even rubbish collection, so he had difficulty disposing of household waste, as well as going shopping.

Colin says neighbours helped out, which he appreciated, but it wasn’t guaranteed that someone would be there when needed.

He wants the Council to employ a Community Nurse at Park House, who can spend time helping elderly people in the community.

Colin says he would have been happy to pay the hourly cost of the service, if it was available, and it wouldn’t necessarily fall on the Authority to fund it.

He told Radio Scilly that people would rather be helped to carry on living in their own home, which is the lowest cost method and would help to relieve hospital bed blocking.

The Council officer in charge of health matters, Aisling Hicks, said it wasn’t the Authority’s statutory duty to provide home help, but they had a role in “facilitating that market.”

She said the islands’ voluntary service was underutilised and fragmented. The Council was currently focussing its budget on the most vulnerable people in the community.

But she said providing help with things like ironing or rubbish collection could be more cost effective than moving people to Park House.

“That’s our biggest gap at the moment,” she said.

Director of Community Services Penny Penn Howard said they had tried to “stimulate the market” several times but had always failed.

People will work for a few weeks, she said, then have to stop because they go on holiday or have other work during the summer.

Penny added that they were currently discussing getting help from Age UK.

Community Services Chairman Richard McCarthy said he’d raise the issue of off-island waste collection with the General Purposes Committee.

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