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HIA

Yorkshire Housing offer many services to help people who are not tenants maintain their independence, dignity and security.

The housing association’s home improvement agencies (HIAs) support householders in need across the region.

There are three HIAs, one of which covers the Stockton-on-Tees area and there is the Swale HIA which covers North Yorkshire.

 

The other takes in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley ​and all three offer caring and trusted services to those in need.

Low-income, vulnerable or older householders can benefit from a variety of work on their homes.

There is a handyperson service for smaller jobs, such as installing ramps and safety rails, and a handytec service for bigger works.

Handypersons do DIY and minor adaptations that householders may have been able to do at one time but cannot anymore.

The handytec service, mainly through disabled facilities grant funding, helps with major renovations, such as the installation of through-floor lifts.

The aim of both is to keep people safe and independent in their own homes for as long as possible.

Funding comes from government bodies, charities and other agencies, including Hambleton District Council, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Gas Safety Charity hardship fund.

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One scheme, Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire, brings this work together for armed forces veterans in North Yorkshire.

John Willans, 80, of Northallerton, received help towards a new boiler and new shower that made a great difference to his quality of life.

The former signalman, pictured right with wife Iris, has complex health conditions that can be affected by the cold.

John, who served in Malta and West Germany in the early 1960s, was referred to Ex-Forces North Yorkshire by Age UK.

Yorkshire Housing’s needs, advice and support officer Christine Potter administers the scheme.

She works with bodies such as Ex-Forces Support and the British Gas Energy Trust (Warm and Well) in North Yorkshire to deliver help.

John and Iris had been unaware of the help available to them until being handed a leaflet through Age UK.

Christine said of John’s case: “It was agreed the existing gas combi boiler and radiators needed servicing to improve efficiency and make the home feel warmer.

 

“Mr Willans has enduring sensitive health issues which make him feel cold quickly and the cold can then exacerbate his medical conditions.”

But it was discovered during the servicing that there was a serious and potentially dangerous fault with the boiler’s flue.

Funding from Warm and Well in North Yorkshire and Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire helped cover the cost of replacing the boiler.

John and Iris were also struggling with their shower, which was too small for their needs.

As with the boiler, funding was arranged towards shower and bathroom alternations that are now complete.

John said: “Christine visited, chatted with us and agreed to pay an amount towards the cost, which has greatly helped us.

 

“The shower and bathroom alternation is now complete and we can use it every day safely.”

 

He recommended the service and added: “Don’t think about it, just do it. The help is out there – ask for it.”​

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