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 Helping Hands, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset

We are here to make your life easier & act as your Personal Assistant

 As long as it’s legal and ethical, we can help you with all
those important inconveniences of modern life

Click here for Home & Garden Services

Home & Garden
Services

Click here for Care & Support Services

Care & Support
Services

Click here for Pet Services

Pet
Services

Click here for Home Office Help Services

Home Office &
De-Cluttering Services

ABOUT HELPING HANDS

Helping Hands is a locally based company that provides a high quality, personalised service to people in Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding area.  After four years trading we are proud to have a reputation for reliability, being able to provide flexible support tailored to our customer’s individual requirements and excellent customer service.

Helping Hands cater for a diverse range of customers who include among others:-

Professional people who are out at work all day
Elderly people
Disabled people
Young Mums
Landlords and tenants
People who Age UK and the local Social Services have given our name to


Dominic and Ally Ife with Wallace

 

Our services range from Respite Care for Carers and companionship, home and garden
maintenance, light housework and cooking through to home office re-organisation, de-cluttering and event planning.   We also offer a pet service which includes transportation, with or without the owners accompanying their pets, pet-sitting and dog-walking.  In fact our services are limited only by our customers imagination.

We have full Public & Product Liability Insurance and both have recent CRB and police checks.

TESTIMONIALS

“Ally and Dom came into our lives at a particularly trying time in November 2010.  My mother – now 86 years old, very poorly sighted and becoming less able physically – had just suffered the appalling shock of discovering that her beloved and trusted help of many years had been systematically removing considerable sums of money from her bank account for nearly a year. It was a bitter blow and, on a practical level, created a real crisis in finding reliable, honest, compassionate and effective care for her at very short notice.

Miraculously, we found all of this and more in this husband and wife team. They are thoughtful, companionable, utterly dependable and can – and do - turn their hands to anything that needs doing from cooking to painting, from creating a productive vegetable patch to keeping an eye on her appointments as well as ensuring that all the every day household tasks  are up to scratch. Ally’s nursing experience is invaluable, Dom’s kindly presence always reassuring.

Ally, Dom and their infinite care have made it possible for my Mum to stay in the home she and my father loved so much with friends and family able to visit and life to continue, as far as possible, as it always has. Her life is immeasurably better for their being in it; knowing that we have them to count on is a boon beyond price for my brother and I as we both live a considerable distance from her.” Name withheld

“Due to a quite severe disability, I am unable to organise my home or lifestyle. I have 2 very young boys both under 3 and I knew I had to swallow my pride and get some help for their sake. Ally has now come into my life and taught me so many things to help me to sort out my home and family. She is wonderful company and I feel totally relaxed with her which I never thought would be the case letting a stranger help me with my housework!

I feel much more confident with the various domestic chores and I know that my confidence can only increase with Ally's continual support. And big thank you to Dom as well, for helping with the more practical things such as DIY etc. They are a wonderful company and don't judge no matter what your circumstances.

So if anyone out there feels they are struggling (with anything) no matter what your situation - Helping Hands are for you. We all need help sometimes. And these are the guys to call!”  Emily.

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An interview with Sarah Quick from North Somerset Enterprise Centre

What inspired you to start your own business?

Dominic had been made redundant from Reading University in September 2007. This was a blessing in disguise because it gave him the opportunity to join Ally who has lived in Weston for 30 years. However, after several months he was still unemployed and getting quite despondent. A chance remark from a customer at the charity shop where he worked - and still does when he has time - about how much he liked helping people when he had the time got us thinking.

What did you do before?

I am South African and came to this country when I was 19. I settled in Reading and got a job at the university where I stayed until I was made redundant in 2007. Ally worked as a nurse for many years at the hospital.
 
When did you start your business and how has it developed?

Officially my starting date was 27/8/09 although I regard the research that I did for a few months beforehand and, once the seed had been sown, courses that I went on through the North Somerset Enterprise Agency, which supports start-up and businesses with free advice, information and low-cost training (http://www.northsomersetenterpriseagency.co.uk), to be the start.

It started off slowly and our very first customer, now a regular one and very helpful to us with referrals, was a complete fluke. One day Ally checked her personal e.mails, among which were some Freecycle Café ones and someone was asking for help to run some errands as she was temporarily housebound. Ally immediately got in touch with her, explained the business and offered her our services, which the customer jumped at. Since then she has used us on numerous occasions for different things and posted an excellent reference on the Freecycle Café which has brought in some more work.

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In the first month, after that first customer, we put posters up everywhere we could think of locally and a few customers trickled in. By early autumn we had enough money coming in every month to pay all the business bills (insurance, accountant etc) and put petrol in my car to get me to the customers and also to pay for things like setting up the web-site.

Then, suddenly, a customer who had wanted some female company at a hospital appointment, started spreading the word at the various organisations that she volunteered with and took about 200 flyers to leave at the different offices and the work started coming in much quicker. We had a word with Alliance Housing and they sent customers our way and then contacted Age UK and Care Connect (local social services) who, after taking up both personal and professional references, also included us on their list.

Who runs the business and how many people are employed?

I am a sole trader so I run the business but my wife, although not employed by the business (she is a nurse who works 3-4 nights a week at the hospital), does all the administration and more often than not helps with the bigger or longer jobs such as garden clearance and decorating out of the kindness of her heart! She also does the respite care although we both have full CRB and police checks and are both fully insured.

What is different/unusual about your business?

I think it’s the fact that we offer such a range of services and that, literally, no job is too small. For instance we had one customer last year who worked away during the week and all he wanted done was to have his outside plant pots (7) watered in the middle of the week which we did throughout the summer. Another customer has asked us to deliver a newspaper every morning to her mother which we have been doing for two years (mind you, she does live just down the road, we probably wouldn‘t do it if it wasn’t within very easy walking distance because we charge so little for this job). We are also prepared to work at any time the customer asks (within some limits!)

Last summer we had a regular weekly garden job that the customer wanted us to start at 7.30 in the morning. He is elderly and with mobility problems but wants to work with us as much as possible and his joints are better very early in the morning. We also run a pet transportation service which is 24 hours, although obviously there is an extra charge between 10pm and 7am. It has been used five times during the night although often during the day. We have also been walking a lovely little Westie for 30 minutes, four days a week up in the woods since we started the business . Fortunately the owner is very accommodating and as long as it’s between 12 and 2.30, he doesn’t mind the time so we just arrange our days and slot Wallace in the middle somewhere. If we are in the middle of an all-day job we take an hour for lunch and walk him then. Luckily he lives at Worlebury so we pop him in the car and can give him the whole 30 minutes in the woods (or Sand Bay if we have a bit of time to spare)

Who are your customers and how do you reach them?

Our potential customers are everyone who wants someone to relieve them of the niggling but important inconveniences of modern life! We originally thought that our services would appeal more to the elderly who might have practical difficulties which needed to be overcome but our customers are from all age groups and in fact our youngest was only 13 who had bought her little brother a second-hand bike for Christmas and wanted to hide it from him until the big day. This particular customer we didn’t charge but her mother uses us for help with respite care occasionally for her other son now.

At the moment our customers are nearly always through word of mouth but I belong to a networking group, we have 11 posters in the hospital alone in various departments, around town and in vets, dog grooming centres, catteries and kennels etc. Ally has a lot of contacts through Freecycle and we have our web-site. At every opportunity we hand out a flyer and fridge magnet (business cards tend to get lost although we still use them as well) and in the autumn we intend taking the bull by the horns and trying some public speaking at various organizations. We are on the Age Concern database and are on the North Somerset Council Social Services list. We are also on the listings for Yell.com and Brown Frog and have had several customers through both of them.
 
Terry Gilbert of the North Somerset Enterprise Agency says:

“Helping Hands is a business that spotted a need and has worked hard to deliver a service that has something to offer almost everyone. It’s terrific to see them heading into their second year of enterprise with a growing reputation and demand.

“At a time when there is little job security, it’s inspiring to see how redundancy can be turned from a real blow into an opportunity for a new way of life. Running a business is hard work and isn’t for everyone, but as Dominic and Ally demonstrate it can be a life-changing and rewarding way forward.”

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CONTACT US TO SEE IF WE CAN HELP!

The list is limited only by your imagination!
As long as it's legal, moral and ethical, we will do it.

CONTACT US on: 01934 623068

 

We’ll do your “To Do” list!

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