A four-figure grant from a regional employer has helped a Teesside charity enhance the home care services it provides and improve the health and well-being of its home care colleagues.

In response to the increased pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Five Lamps Organisation has brought in two new electric bikes to help its team of domiciliary carers reach the 90 people they currently look after across the Stockton area more quickly.

It is also giving its 53 carers new branded backpacks and water bottles, while some of them will receive solar mobile phone chargers to both help with the lack of facilities during social distancing and to recognise the brilliant job they are doing in supporting vulnerable people who currently need homecare service more than ever.

The project is being funded with support from a £1,500 grant from the community benefits fund linked to Banks Renewables’ Lambs Hill wind farm near Stillington.

The family-owned firm agreed with the Lambs Hill Wind Farm community fund committee members to temporarily relax the fund’s eligibility criteria in response to the impact of the pandemic and extend the area within which grants can be made.

Headquartered in Stockton, the Five Lamps Organisation delivers an integrated range of social, economic and financial inclusion services within which it seeks to transform lives, raise aspiration, remove barriers and offer choice.

The carers’ new bikes have now come into service and will make it easier for carers to travel safely and ensure more time can be spent delivering care.

Nicola Garrett, director of corporate services at The Five Lamps Organisation, says: “Recent weeks has showcased the importance of domiciliary care and the pressures home care providers and carers face. Our home care team is doing an amazing job in continuing to safely look after local people who often need a great deal of support.

“Many of our clients have a wide range of complex needs, so are shielding from the virus, and their visits from our carers are often one of very few social interactions they’re having with other people.

“Some of our carers walk, some drive and some already use bikes to travel between visits and to collect prescriptions and shopping which has been a challenge during lockdown.

“We wanted to find a way that our carers could get around safely and quickly, so that they can spend as much of their valuable time as possible in people’s homes providing care. Creating a pool of electric bikes will really make a difference, not just during the pandemic but as lockdown is lifted.

“The backpacks provide recognition for the essential job that our carers are doing, while their need to both stay hydrated and keep in touch during the days means that the new water bottles and solar mobile chargers will come in very handy.

“We couldn’t have made these plans happen without Banks Renewables’ generous support and our carers can’t wait to take our new bikes out on the road.”

Sue Bell, chair of the Lambs Hill Wind Farm community fund committee, adds: “In normal times, this kind of work is important to our community, but at present, it provides so much more in terms of support for our vulnerable people and their families.

“This care and service is invaluable and this funding committee, set up and financed by the Banks Group, has been able to help in making it easier to reach the people that need it.

“It is also right that those putting others first should be given recognition for that and deserve equipment that makes their task easier.  This is a very worthwhile project to be able to help and a pleasure to support.”

The Lambs Hill wind farm will generate more than £250,000 of local community funding over its 25-year lifespan and has been operational since the beginning of 2017.

It generates over 23,500 MW of green electricity every year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 5,700 homes, and by doing so, displaces almost 7,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network per annum.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Our wind farm benefits funds are designed to support good causes in the closest surrounding communities which make a tangible difference to the lives of people living there.

“In this unprecedented time of need, we felt it was right to step up and do as much as we can to support the local community where it’s most needed, and we’re grateful for the support of the support of the members of the funding panel in enabling us to do so.

“The Five Lamps team is doing a great job in supporting vulnerable people in the community and we’re keen to hear from other groups who could make a similar impact with the help of a grant from the Lambs Hill fund.”

Community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of the Lambs Hill wind farms which are looking for a grant of up to £3,000 should contact the fund manager at the County Durham Community Foundation, who administers the fund on behalf of Banks Renewables, on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.