Coronavirus: Chichester-based company recruits ‘reserve’ workers to help care for elderly in West Sussex

A Chichester-based company is recruiting reserve care workers from the community as part of its contingency planning for the coronavirus outbreak.

Guardian Angel Carer staff
Guardian Angel Carer staff

Guardian Angel Carers, which provides care for people in their own homes from Emsworth to Worthing, has launched the appeal to ensure that – in the case of widespread school closures or mass self-isolation – sufficient care would be available for vulnerable and elderly people.

They are looking to recruit and train people in Emsworth, Chichester, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton and Worthing.

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Julie Hughes, marketing and business development, said: “None of us know what exact implications there may or may not be.

Guardian Angel Carer staff

“It’s better to be ready and as prepared as we can be.

“It’s trying to be really positive in the sense of – if this happens, this is what we can do.”

The new recruits would be required to visit elderly people in their homes and help out with essential tasks – such as preparing meals and drinks, helping with medication or providing companionship in the form of ‘a cup of tea and a chat’.

The company will be running a series of training days over the coming weeks for ‘compassionate people’ in the community who want to help out.

MD and founder Christina Bassadone

Anyone who is healthy and is able to offer even as little time as one hour per week is invited to come along.

Mrs Hughes said: “It could be a schoolteacher who, if the school closes, thinks what will I do? How can I help?

“We will give them the necessary skills to help in the community.

“It’s making sure there is enough of us to ensure that our elderly and vulnerable clients can continue to live healthily and happily at home.”

Guardian Angel Carer staff

People will be paid for the role (£11.50-12.50 per hour of contact time with a client), which may help people who have lost earning opportunities due to potential work closures.

They will not be required to wash and dress anyone.

Most of the clients at the company are elderly people with different types of needs, requiring anything from half an hour of support a day to full 24/7 care.

Mrs Hughes said of the work: “It’s very rewarding.”

The plans have been run past the Care Quality Commission, which has endorsed them as a short term measure in the face of the virus outbreak.

Mrs Hughes said: “I suppose more than anything, it’s saying here in Chichester, we are pulling together.”

There are now three confirmed cases of the coronavirus in West Sussex.

Parents of children at schools across West Sussex have been told they will remain open for now, as per Government advice.

All schools, nurseries and childminders were issued with an information sheet by West Sussex County Council to be forwarded out to parents – read more here.