Solva Care

| Helen Sharp

“It seemed to me that we could do it better and keep things locally, and do it for ourselves.”

Mollie Roach – Solva Community Councillor

How do you solve the problem of providing domiciliary care in a rural community when the community is unhappy with the quality of commissioned provision and the area is so secluded? I came across this dilemma recently when working with some commissioners in Wales and it seems to be a fairly common issue – the funding is there, but the provider is not.

One such community – Solva, in Pembrokeshire – decided to work it out themselves and have developed a whole community approach to supporting the home care needs of their ageing population. Solva Care is a not-for-profit social initiative, which was set up following an idea by Solva Community Councillor, Mollie Roach. After consultation with the community, they agreed they would try to do it themselves. They wanted to keep it in Solva and have local carers who can walk to work and get to know the people they are looking after.

Solva Care offers friendly support and help to those who need it through a system of local volunteers and helpers. Within the first month, 27 people offered their time and this number has since increased. There are enough volunteers to spread out the work easily among them. Services such as pop in visits, shopping, transport, minor repairs and maintenance, dog walking and domestic chores are offered, all free of charge and without being beholden to unit costs, timed tasks or targets.

This response to a universal problem has been very cost effective; the main outgoing is the salary of a co-ordinator. While they do not want to replace specialist services, they have solved the problem they faced and have strengthened the community as a result.

“People are coming out now who haven’t been seen for years.”

Lena Dixon – project coordinator

Photo by Ian Cylkowski

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