Health: Initiative to highlight traders to be trusted

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With the growing older population, health services aren’t the only things which need to adapt. Katie Baldwin reports.

Finding a reliable tradesman to do jobs around the home can be tricky for anyone.

But for vulnerable people such as those who are older or have disabilities, it can be even more difficult because of fears over trustworthiness.

However thanks to a new look website, they now have a better way to find vital services to help them maintain their independence.

The newly-re-launched Leeds Directory site is putting people power at its heart, with users being encouraged to provide eBay style ratings on the tradesmen they have used.

Firms listed sign up to a code or practice and are checked and vetted to make sure residents are safe to use them.

And the website has been officially relaunched to mark its expansion and improvements making it easier for users to search for the services they need.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Making sure people can live healthy lives in healthy homes reflects the ambitions of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board.

“Care and Repair are doing valuable work promoting and supporting active, healthy independent living for people.”

Funded by Leeds City Council, the Leeds Directory is managed by Care and Repair Leeds, an independent Home Improvement Agency with Charitable Status providing services to support independent living for older people as well as disabled adults and children.

Tradesmen including gardeners and handymen are among the 1,700 organisations listed on the site, with those providing services around the home and garden, personal care or trades checked and vetted and marked with a green tick.

Service providers sign up to a code of good practice and Care and Repair also work alongside West Yorkshire Trading Standards and Safer Leeds to help reduce doorstep crime and bogus callers.

Coun Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, visited Roundhay-based Care and Repair to give the new website a test run.

He said: “More and more of the people we work with are telling us that they want to be able to live safely and independently in their own homes for as long as they possibly can and the internet has become one of the most important tools in helping them to do that.

“That’s why it’s so vital that we have a modern, easy-to-use website like the Leeds Directory for them to access.

“The site puts the choice and control over care and support services firmly in the hand of the people who are using them, equipping them with the information they need to make the important decisions.

“It also gives them the added confidence of knowing that the services they are searching for have been checked by us, but more importantly they have been also been rated by other people who have the same needs as they do.”

More people are expected to be signposted to the Leeds Directory as the city’s population increases, with growing numbers of older people and more being in charge of their own care budgets.

The city’s population of 735,000 is expected to rise to a million by 2030, with the number of people over 75 projected to increase by 10,000 by 2020.

Ruth Cornelissen, chief executive of Care and Repair Leeds, said: “Leeds has an increasingly older population and at Care and Repair, we know how important it is that these people can find and access quality health and social care services – however, we also know that finding trusted service providers isn’t always easy.

“The Leeds Directory provides a vital means for people to find services they can rely on and activities in their local area that will improve their health, wellbeing and independence. We’re delighted with our new improved Leeds Directory site and we hope that it will continue to be a powerful tool for professionals and an indispensable source of information for people to help them live the life they want to live.” 

Visit the site at www.leedsdirectory.org or contact the helpline on 0113 3918333.

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