A care charity plans to expand to meet the growing needs of vulnerable people, despite having to suspend a valued service due to lack of uptake.
Evergreen Care Trust founder Louise Marsh said the charity would not abandon its members, even as it prepared to shut down the Evergreen Angels support service at 8pm today (November 27).
Instead, she vowed to develop a personal care service to enable Evergreen to register with the Care Quality Commission, with the aim of eventually bringing the Angels service back.
The charity is based on the Stamford Hospital site but also serves Bourne and the surrounding area.
“Evergreen is not under threat. We are evolving and refining the service”, she said.
“We learned a lot of valuable lessons. We believe that what we have is an excellent primary service with enormous benefits for users, their families and carers, but also for the wider care network and statutory providers.”
Mrs Marsh said there were two reasons why the uptake was not as high as expected. One was that people the charity initially consulted then reconsidered their interest when the service was launched.
“I think a lot of them thought they didn’t need the service at that time,” she said.
But the second, more telling factor, was the lack of collaboration with social and health services. The charity got fewer referrals than anticipated, particularly for the most vulnerable people, because it is not yet registered with the Care Quality Commission. It does not qualify, because it does not yet offer a personal care service.
Mrs March said: “I understand why the council has to make its regulations but that meant we didn’t have the uptake.”
However, she does believe the Angels service worked and was valuable as part of a wider support network. An example of its effectiveness was the saving of £36,000 it made for the East Midlands Ambulance Service by responding to 57 falls which would otherwise have required an ambulance call-out.
The personal care service will be developed next year. In the meantime Evergreen hopes to keep its connection with the 70 current Angels scheme members. It aims to work more closely with Lincs Independent Living Partnership wellbeing service and other partners, increase its befriending provision, and extend its own half-hour wellbeing visits from five to seven days a week.
Mrs Marsh said there was huge disappointment about the closure of the Angels service.
“It has been very sad. We had a fabulously-committed and passionate team of Angels, some of whom will lose their jobs. All have said that they want to come back if we restart the service.
“We invested more than £100,000 and we need to be able to say to the people who invested money that this was an excellent service. We just need the statutory providers to play ball with us.
“With the implementation of further cuts it’s the time for us to be thinking outside the box.
“The standard cost of the Angels service was £2 a day. For a twenty-four-seven service that was astounding. But we needed the uptake.”