Copeland Age and Advice Service (CAAS) – Help When it Matters
With over 120 referrals in their first month, the launch of Copeland Age and Advice Service (CAAS) highlighted how desperately needed the service is in our area.
Cleator Moor based CAAS covers the whole of Copeland and is a not for profit, Social Enterprise that provides information, advice and guidance to over 55’s in relation to financial matters, housing issues and enables people to live safely and independently, wherever they choose.
“We’re here to make sure that everyone is getting what they’re entitled to and no one slips through the net,” said Financial Director Lesley Amor. “People don’t like to ask for help because they are very proud, but we do a full benefits check for them and if it’s a health benefit then it can often open the door to other things too.”
Local ladies Becky Goddard and Lesley Amor decided to set up CAAS after they were made redundant from their roles when funding ceased for a similar project run by Age UK West Cumbria.
“This is something Becky and I have done for a long time,” said Lesley. “We knew what a huge impact this service had on our clients and letting it go just wasn’t an option for us. We aim to give people the opportunity to live fulfilled and independent lives by providing personalised advice and support. It’s the prevention side that’s very important and I think you have to visit someone’s home to assess the full situation.
We offer a full holistic assessment, so we might visit to help someone apply for a Blue Badge but at their house, we will identify other things like daily living aids or equipment they are entitled to. People don’t know what’s out there to keep them safe in their homes and we can help with housing options if they want to apply for social housing, or grants to keep them in their own home. It’s a minefield really.”
CAAS are currently the only organisation that provides this specialist support locally and Operations Director Becky Goddard admits Copeland’s rural location adds challenges for the elderly:
“With a large proportion of the population living rurally, access to services can be challenging. Many areas have poor transport links and therefore a service that provides home visits for clients who are unable to access an office base, whether due to difficulties with their health or their remote location, which means they will still be able to access our support”.
With many years’ experience, they have a large network of contacts in relevant fields like health care, social care and other independent organisations like Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
They are qualified Trusted Assessors as well as agents for the DWP and have a shared passion to support the vulnerable older generation in a caring and compassionate manner.
They offer a range of services that include advice and help on money matters, accessing relevant housing options, a form filling service for things like Blue Badge applications, grant applications, completion of housing forms and power of attorney applications along with benefit checks and assistance with benefit applications. While their home assessments will help them recommend relevant aids, equipment, adaptations as well as advice on later life issues.
Copeland Age and Advice Service are funded through Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria Community Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund and Sellafield Charity Snowball which means they can keep their one-off fees for services to a minimum which is generally less than 1 percent of whatever benefits the clients will receive from the assessments.
Referrals to CAAS can be made by health services, GP’s, health professionals, adult social care, other relevant agency referral, family or friends or a self-referral which can be done by on 01946 552166, email at [email protected] or the referral form on the website at www.caasteam.com
Would you like to help? CAAS are always looking to recruit community volunteers. Give them a call and you could join the team.