A service to assist older owner-occupiers, private renters, and social tenants to leave their current homes and move to ones more suitable to their immediate and long-term needs.
Care and Repair Cymru (CRC) aims to help older people live independently in warm, safe, accessible homes. Founded in Wales in 1979, the organisation began by responding to acute problems faced by older homeowners in Rhondda, who were coping with housing that was deeply unsuitable and lacking in basic amenities.
From there, CRC has developed to support older people across Wales through 13 agencies delivering to older people in all 22 counties.
CRC believes that the quality of an older person's home is fundamental to their independence, health and wellbeing. Currently public policy is focused on adapting an older person’s existing home to enable them to ‘stay put’. For 30 years, CRC has been at the frontline of that delivery but in recent years they have observed growing demand from older people whose homes, irrespective of the level of investment, are incapable of affording their long-term independence, good health and wellbeing.
CRC’s ‘Help to Move’ (HTM) pilot tested the demand for, and nature of, a service that could assist older owner-occupiers, private renters, and social tenants to leave their current home and move to one more suitable to their immediate and long-term needs.
CRC ran a practical pilot to test demand for the service and develop the processes required to support full-service delivery.
CRC began its research and development by undertaking some background research, which included a literature review, market survey, client analysis and detailed service modelling. One hundred per cent of respondents to CRC’s HTM questionnaire reported that they hadn’t ever been asked about their housing aspirations in later life (1).
The research also found that a range of complex factors drives the need for older people to move home, but they in turn also inhibit ability to move. Thus, the way the service defined itself to potential clients uncovered a strong demand for a HTM service, especially among the most vulnerable, particularly around the facilitated process of ‘making good decisions’ and developing ‘help to move enablers’.
Working with local independent home living specialists Bridgend County Care & Repair to gain referrals to the pilot, CRC found a strong demand for HTM among its existing clients and a fertile interaction between the pilot service and existing Care & Repair services. Of the 61 referrals made, just three came from external sources.
CRC realised early in its R&D work that different tiers of support were needed to meet clients’ differing needs. Using service design techniques, three service options were developed: ‘light touch’, ‘moderate’ and ‘intensive’. Within four months of the pilot being up and running, 18 (29%) of all clients referred were using the service intensively, with two (3%) moved to more appropriate properties and 16 (26%) waiting to move with HTM support. Nearly half of all clients took a pick-and-mix approach to HTM’s advice and support when and where they needed it.
Emotional support and help with wider personal and financial issues were key to clients feeling confident enough to move. A caseworker was appointed to help manage these issues, providing advice, support and assistance to those considering or embarking on a move to a more suitable home.
CRC could generate approximately £1.6m in income over a 10-year period from a chargeable Help to Move service
● Through the pilot, CRC found a strong demand for the HTM service - 95 per cent of respondents to the HTM questionnaire believed there should be a service available to help older people who are thinking about moving home.
● Potential movers favoured level access properties, for example bungalows and flats.
● Accessibility, safety and security are the most important features of a home in later life.
● The preferred tenure, if moving later in life, for 60 per cent of respondents was age-appropriate rental property (privately or socially).
● Based on data from the pilot service and BCCR’s client base, it is estimated that CRC could generate approximately £1.6m in income over a 10-year period from a chargeable Help to Move service.
● The practical experience of being involved in this research has been useful for further R&D. CRC has a clearer understanding of how much time, planning and testing is required to develop a service that can develop a long-term service that may involve selling and buying a property.
There were no cashable savings identified as part of the R&D work. However, other savings were found, including efficiency savings of £165k over 10 years for Bridgend County Borough Council, by avoiding unnecessary Disabled Facilities Grant works.
Additionally, it was found the council could benefit from cost avoidance of nearly £4m over a 10-year period in residential and day care costs as a result of individuals being supported at an earlier point by Help to Move.
Work is currently underway to further develop Help to Move in Carmarthenshire. Welsh Government has funded a two-year Help to Move pilot in Carmarthenshire informed by the work in Bridgend. Long term, CRC intends to scale this work nationally. It intends to continue developing and testing Help to Move until confident it has a scalable model to run on an all-Wales basis. These plans include making a case for direct Welsh Government funding to move from pilot to full national service.
This case study is also available in Welsh on the Y Lab website.