Support services and help at home

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Care and support providers

If you have been finding it difficult to manage at home, you might be considering arranging for a care and support provider to help you with personal tasks such as washing and dressing, or with help to prepare your meals. There are a number of ways you might want to arrange the help you need:

You may wish to buy your support yourself from a provider, in which case this page will help you know where to start.

You may wish to be assessed by the council to see if you are eligible for council support.  if you are eligible for support, the council may offer you reablement, for up to 6 weeks, to help you do as much for yourself as possible, so that you can continue to live safely at home.  The article How adult care and support needs are assessed gives you more information on how we work out if you are eligible.  Our pages on support at home give you details of other services to help you stay well.  Further information is available on our article Paying for adult social care and support if you live in your own home on whether you would have to contribute financially for the support you receive from the council.

If you are eligible to receive support from the council, the council can arrange support from a care and support provider for you.

Alternatively, if you are eligible for support from your council, you may wish to have a direct payment, which means you arrange your own support and you make the choice about which provider to use.  If you need help to chose the right provider for you, there are direct payments support providers who can help you with this, further details are available on our direct payment pages.

It is important to remember that there are other options available to help you to continue to live in your own home, such as meals at home and equipment and adaptations. Further information is available by clicking the links on the right hand side of this article, we can also advise you on services that would better suit your needs.

Please contact the adult care member of staff who is working with you or Customer Services on or 01454 868007 if you would like to discuss your options further. Advice and information from the council is free to everyone, and we can help you to get information and advice whatever your circumstances.

Points to consider when choosing a care and support provider

A good starting point is to prepare a list of the things that you need support with, with an idea of how long these tasks may take and at what time of the day or week you need help. Think about what is most important to you about the way those tasks are done. This will help you to prepare questions to ask providers you are considering, to identify which provider can best meet your needs.

Contact several care and support providers to give you choice and help you decide which is likely to suit you best. Care and support providers sometimes provide specialised support and should advise you if their service is able to meet your needs.

You may find it helpful to ask potential care and support providers some of the following questions before making a decision:


  • What services are available? Do you provide any specialist services, for example supporting people with living with dementia?
  • Is there a minimum service I would have to buy, in terms of time e.g. half an hour calls, or a minimum number of hours a week?
  • Is there a trial period?
  • Can you be flexible about times of visits, so that I can still do the things that are important to me and get out and about?
  • How would I contact your office during the day to check anything or out of hours for an emergency, for instance if a home carer didn’t arrive?


  • What are your charges? Do you charge different evening, weekend and bank holiday rates?
  • Does the hourly rate include everything, or are there any extras, for example VAT, National Insurance or travelling expenses?


  • Can I choose the person who provides my care and support?
  • Can I expect to see the same staff regularly?
  • What will happen if the regular member of staff who visits me is sick or on holiday?
  • Can I have advance weekly rotas of who will be supporting me?

Terms and conditions

  • How can I complain about the service I receive?
  • What happens if I need to cancel the service? Will I have to pay?
  • Will there be regular reviews of the service, and a main person I can deal with about any questions?

Keeping me safe

  • How are staff recruited? Are they required to give references? What training are they given?
  • What evidence can I see that staff have had police checks?
  • What do you have in place to ensure that I and your staff are kept safe? For example, that staff don’t hurt themselves when they are helping me get around at home.
  • What sort of records will you keep of what you have provided?

Types of support at home available and how to find it

There are agencies and companies who can provide support with home maintenance tasks, housework, laundry and gardening.  You can find someone to mow your lawn or vacuum your home and these services can be either a one off or regular service. 

If you have access to the internet, either at home or through your local library for free,  you can search for a service provider or ask someone to help you do this.   

You can also get help to find a service provider by contacting Age UK or visit your local shops and library as they may have details of companies that offer these services.  

Wellaware is a service that provides information on organisations, support groups, community groups, events and activities that can help improve your health and wellbeing in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.   This includes organisations that help with home maintenance, gardening, housework and laundry. 

The council’s Handy Van service can do minor home maintenance tasks and also help in the garden.  

Trust a Trader includes details of trade people living in your local area offering services such as home maintenance tasks.  

If you find putting out your rubbish bin and recycling boxes difficult, the council can arrange help with this.  Details are available at recycling and rubbish – special circumstances.

We Care Home Improvements are a not-for-profit organisation who provide help to improve the homes of older people and those with disabilities. Their aim is for people to live comfortably and independently at home for as long as they choose. 

Your local Fire and Rescue service can make a free home visit to advise you on fire safety. You can make an appointment via their website Fire and Rescue – make an appointment.

How much this support will cost 

The cost of support will vary depending upon what sort of support you need.  There are agencies that provide home care and household support and their charges will vary.  You can find details of agencies  on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website.

If you need maintenance work done in your home or garden it is always advisable to get quotes for the cost before agreeing for the work to be done. Trust a Trader  includes details of trade people living in your local area offering services such as home maintenance tasks.  

You could be eligible for attendance allowance which is financial support that you can use to help pay for any services or work that you need. 

What happens if you feel you can no longer maintain your home or garden 

If looking after your home and garden is difficult you can contact the council’s adult duty desk on 01454 868007 to arrange a visit from a social worker. They can discuss with you the difficulties you are experiencing and let you know what support is available. 

If you are worried that you or somebody else may be being harmed or is at risk of harm, read the article What to do if you are concerned about someone else's safety.