Annual HIA Awards

Sep 18, 2017

Stuart Fearn from AKW with Cheshire East Care & Repair team
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Home Improvement Agencies support independent living

Foundations, the umbrella group for HIAs (Home Improvement Agencies) organises the annual Home Improvement Agency and Handyperson Awards to recognise the essential work carried out by 200 local organisations, which help disabled and elderly people continue to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

Joint winners of Service of the Year

Two pioneering organisations providing vital, tailored services to thousands of vulnerable people have been jointly crowned Home Improvement Agency Service of the Year.

West of England (WE) Care & Repair and Millbrook Healthcare received their awards from Lord Best at a ceremony held at the House of Lords.

West of England Care & Repair, which is based in Bristol and also won the title in 2016, managed to improve its performance despite having reduced funding.

It also scooped The Innovation Award for the way in which it has redesigned its bathroom adaptations service for self-funders. The work has not only made a huge difference to clients but also helped make the organisation more sustainable.

Millbrook Healthcare impressed judges with its efforts to champion the work of home improvement agencies and its sharing of best practice.

It has worked with local authorities to make assessments for Disabled Facilities Grants more flexible and reduced delivery times to just 12 weeks. This has resulted in more homes being adapted to make them accessible, reducing demand for care services in the process.
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Recognising support for flood victims

Paul Dilley’s work at Carlisle City Council offering support to flood victims in the aftermath of the severe storms in winter 2015 saw him made “FILT Champion”.

FILT – Foundations Independent Living Trust, the charitable arm of Foundations – secured funding from nPower and the Department for Communities and Local Government for his role as floods officer at the council, in recognition of the need for extra full-time support to help people get back on track and make their homes more resilient to future flooding.

Customers’ recommended handyperson service

Revival HIA in Stoke-on-Trent, which is part of Staffordshire Housing Group, is this year’s Handyperson Service of the Year. It has built close working relationships with local commissioners to support hospital discharge, winter warmth, victims of domestic violence and people at risk of crime. Some 97% of customers said they would recommend the service to others.
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Recognition for home adaptations service

Pictured above is Stuart Fearn from AKW (on the left) with members of the winning Cheshire East Care & Repair team

Cheshire East Care & Repair has been crowned Home Adaptations Service of the Year, an award sponsored by accessible bathroom and kitchen manufacturer AKW.

Run by Cheshire East Council, the team have streamlined the way they deliver Disabled Facilities Grants, reducing bureaucracy and focusing on ways to reduce admissions to hospital and residential care.

Key features of their new policy include increasing the maximum grant amount from £30,000 to £50,000, supporting people to move to a more suitable property (where that is appropriate) and providing grants to foster carers of disabled children.
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Collaboration and Commissioning

This year’s Collaboration Award has gone to Lincolnshire Home Independence Agency for its work as a founder member of Lincs Independent Living Partnership (LILP). LILP is now recognised nationally as an exemplar for collaborative working, bringing together a range of organisations to provide commissioners with an integrated county-wide Wellbeing Service. This provides a social return of £4.15 for every £1 invested.

Doncaster HIA, formed by the Council and their arm’s length management organisation St Leger Homes, won the HIA Commissioning Award. Only recently established, and still being developed, the HIA has set up a Rapid Response pilot to deal with falls in the home and a range of other initiatives designed to provide proactive support before a crisis situation occurs.

Winners and shortlisted organisations were joined by representatives from the Department for Communities and Local Government and leading charities including HACT, National Energy Action, Independent Age and Age UK at a ceremony in the House of Lords to celebrate their achievements.
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Awards host Lord Best said:

“Once again, these awards demonstrate the innovative work being undertaken by home improvement agencies across the country.

“They are playing a crucial role in enabling people to live safely in their own homes and in the process are helping to relieve the pressure on health and social care services.”

Paul Smith, director of Foundations, said:

“What is particularly inspiring is the way in which HIAs have sought to develop robust and sustainable services to meet local health and care priorities, innovating and collaborating with others to deliver tangible outcomes for their customers.”

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Further resources:

Home Adaptations & Disabled Facilities Grants

Case Study: Property Adaptations For Maintaining Independence

You can see some of AKW’s accessible kitchen and bathroom solutions on their showcase page

You can find details of your nearest HIA or Care & Repair on the Foundations website (it will open in a new browser window)
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