With this year’s Poppy appeal in full bloom County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) is proud to be launching a partnership with the Royal British Legion to help keep ex-forces and their families safe and well.
Help and information available through the CDDFRS ‘Safe and Wellbeing’ scheme will now be promoted via the Royal British Legion’s Handy Van service.
Referral forms will be carried by Handy Van fitters and distributed when and where appropriate should they visit homes where members of a household, or their extended family, may benefit.
In February 2016 CDDFRS launched a new programme of ‘Safe and Wellbeing’ visits replacing the home fire safety checks the service had been running successfully for the past ten years.
‘Safe and Wellbeing’ visits continue to include advice to drive down the incidents of fire in the home but they are also designed to provide information and practical help to improve health and quality of life, when and where appropriate.
Mark Henderson, community protection and prevention officer at CDDFRS, explained: “As part of our community safety work, CDDFRS already visits thousands of homes each year and through this partnership with the Royal British Legion’s Handy Van service we can add to this number.
“Like the fire service, the Legion is a trusted organisation with established relationships in the community and links to people who may need particular support who we may not have not reached before.
“By arranging referrals through our partners in health, local councils and voluntary organisations we can offer help in areas beyond fire safety. This could be preventing slips, trips and falls, which are a big risk for elderly people in their homes; providing details about access to schemes to heat homes or health initiatives such as flu jabs; giving information about smoking cessation and alcohol consumption and supporting those affected by dementia as well as loneliness and isolation.”
All CDDFRS firefighters have taken part in training to equip them with the skills to carry out Safe and Wellbeing visits.
The Royal British Legion Handy Van service is available free of charge to all ex-forces personnel receiving means tested benefit or those over 75 years’ old regardless of their financial circumstances.
Handy Van fitters check security, winter warmth and fire safety provision in homes; they fit adaptations to improve mobility and prevent falls, as well as carry out minor repairs.
Gary Waters, technical officer for the Handy Van Service at The Royal British Legion, said: “We are delighted to partner with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service to promote their ‘Safe and Wellbeing’ service to our beneficiaries. Ensuring the safety of veterans is at the heart of everything we do and we fully support any scheme that can better protect our most vulnerable members of the Armed Forces community.”
To book a ‘Safe and Wellbeing’ visit email [email protected] or phone 0845 2234221
• Pictured above (from left): Mark Henderson, community safety officer County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Allan Alton Royal British Legion Handy Van fitter and Andrew Allison, community safety manager County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service marking the launch of their ‘Safe and Wellbeing’ partnership work.