Care and Repair gives service with a smile in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Volunteers John Lyons, Warren Kiely and Brian Cunningham of Care and Repair. More information on the service at 061-326623.
RESETTING timers on a heater, hanging up pictures, and putting up a curtain rail are all things most of us can do ourselves -and take for granted.

RESETTING timers on a heater, hanging up pictures, and putting up a curtain rail are all things most of us can do ourselves -and take for granted.

But for older and vulnerable people in Limerick, a service which enters its fifth year in 2015 is proving a God-send.

Care and Repair provides an odd-job service to elderly, vulnerable and disabled people across Limerick’s northside, plus Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Southill and St Mary’s AID.

The free service is supported by Age Action Ireland, the PAUL Partnership and Limerick City and County Council.

While staff are winding down for Christmas, Care and Repair volunteers will remain on duty throughout the festive period to respond to the needs of the elderly.

John O’Sullivan, who co-ordinates the service, said big jobs have started to recede in the run up to Christmas – as many older people “do not want the hassle around Christmas time” – often a friendly visit and a cup of tea can prove to make many people’s festive season.

Seeing a friendly face can be a big thing for someone who might be housebound - especially at Christmas - and this is where the ‘Care’ side of the service comes in.

“It is Care and Repair,” John says, emphasising the former, “A lot of our work is based around care. After our jobs, we would follow up with a friendly call to see how people found the work, and it might open them up to other services which may be available.

John - who works at the Northside Family Resource Centre - says often elderly folk do not know what is available for them - and hate to ask, for fear of being considered a burden.

A quick visit can do wonders to tackle this, he said.

“Once you allow people to engage once, it opens them up to do more. People are a bit nervous and hesitant, but once they realise the services are all there, they like to avail of things,” John explains.

At present, there are 25 volunteers going out to jobs across Limerick.

But as 2015 approaches, John says they are seeking more people to help out.

“They [our volunteers] are all screened and garda vetted. They could be trades people, handymen and community minded people, and they go out in pairs. But we are always looking for more volunteers. Some people can only give a certain amount of time, also we are looking to expand the volunteer list,” he said.

Increasing Care and Repair’s visibility is also on the to do list in the New Year.

Care and Repair provides a degree of trust for the elderly, who may have been stung by ‘cowboy’ tradesmen in the past, John says.

No job is too small for them, and if it is too large for them to reasonably do, then they pass the problem on to a trusted contractor.