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What attracted you to Close to Hand?
It was the opportunity to find local, flexible work that appealed to me and providing some help to the older community. I spend some of my time living abroad and so flexibility is key for me. With Close to Hand, I can pick and choose jobs that I want to suit my other commitments. I’ve always enjoyed doing voluntary work with the elderly so this is perfect for me now that I am needing more paid employment.
How have you found using the service?
Really great and it’s been simple to set myself up and get started. I initially registered in June and immediately completed my online profile – which included uploading a photo, writing a short section about myself and any experience and interests. I then set my own availability and hourly charge. Once my profile was live, I started receiving email alerts every time a new job was posted in my area. I have connected with four local people since registering in June and love the variety it brings to my week. If a job comes in that is of interest, I simply respond to the jobholder directly via the website and exchange messages there before sharing phone numbers, speaking and then meeting with them.
What type of work have you found and who have been helping?
I have connected with four different people in my local area of Tunbridge Wells.
The first was a couple. I popped in during the summer months to help with the gardening, which I loved. It was the wife who contacted me and as well as helping with practical things I was able to offer her husband, who had recently suffered a stroke, some companionship.
I also helped another lady, just for a short period, as she recovered from surgery. She is only in her 60s but was due to have repeat surgery on her shoulder. She knew what her limitations would be during her recovery, so she planned help and posted a job a few weeks before her operation. I was her extra pair of hands when she needed it.
I am currently helping a fiercely independent lady in her early 80s who had recently suffered a fall and just needs an extra pair of hands and encouragement until she recovers. Her daughter posted the job advert so all my initial conversations with her. Her mother had resisted the idea of help, but it has been such a benefit to her recovery and has provided peace of mind and comfort to her daughter who doesn’t live nearby.
I also provide regular home help to a lady in her 80s, which also includes walking her little dog. I help out with housework, help fix things round the house and share in conversation. In fact, she has been teaching me how to use an ipad!
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the Close to Hand community?
It’s perfect if you want to work round your other commitments and earn some extra money but also a lovely way of being able to help someone in need.
“Clare has been wonderful. She has been helping my mother. She is always positive and happy to lend a hand with just about anything. She is super practical and a great problem solver and just a really nice person. Mum really couldn't have done without her and I am really grateful we managed to find her.”
“Clare is a breath of fresh air! She is genuinely happy to help and has a warm caring approach. She has done all sorts of things to help me and tackles everything in her positive sunny way. I feel so grateful to have been connected with her.”
“Only had Claire once but she did the gardening I couldn't do and was marvellous at chatting with my husband. It was lovely to see him so happy and cheerful.”
Are you, or someone you know, looking for some help at home or companionship? Register now to post a job advert detailing your requirements and connect with Home Helpers in your local area.
Are you looking for local, flexible work that serves a purpose in your local community? Register now to build your profile, respond to local job adverts and make connections.