In the experience of the Foundation, vulnerable and poor young single parents lack the means to pay a handyman for basic repairs. Similarly for households where the father suffers from chronic mental illness. Such families also lack the means to buy equipment and materials for such repair work. Because of this, their houses become run down, drab and dreary environments which negatively impact the mental health of family members. We have recruited retired men having their own tools and transport already having skills for basic home repair chores. They are trained and mentored and supported for such work. We have developed a Code of Practice for them since this work is of a sensitive nature and the volunteers need to be highly aware of maintaining boundaries.
This service grew out of a keenly felt need by Foundation Social Workers. Since one of the strategic objectives of the Foundation is to identify gaps in social support service provision and to respond to such needs, the Foundation tries to fill the gap through this project.
In 2012 the three Volunteer Handymen in the project have completed a total of 581 hours of service; 390 hours of which in the homes of vulnerable families. 77 individuals from 23 familes benefited. Without this service, the homes of these 23 families would have remained highly disorganised. A total of 62 visits to these families were undertaken. Apart from the work described above, the Volunteer Handymen carried out the following work: (1) pick up of used furniture from families wishing to donate such furniture to vulnerable families and (b) delivery of donated used furniture to vulnerable families. In one year, the volunteer handymen undertook 41 such transportation and delivery visits, using the van of one of the volunteers, with fuel re-imbursement by the Foundation.
We are looking for more volunteers to meet the demand and funds to cover materials and very basic equipment.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (January 2014)