December 7, 2018 Latest News

We’re delighted to acknowledge that Helping Hands Community Care has reached a new milestone – our 30th anniversary.

We’re proud to have been supporting vulnerable people and those with specialist care needs for 30 years.

This makes Helping Hands one of the longest established, and largest independent homecare providers in Northumberland and wider area.

A dedicated team of almost 550 care staff are continually on the road and in people’s homes helping others live as independent a life as possible. It’s their tireless effort and commitment that has built Helping Hands and made the organisation an important support service across the region.

Established as a family business operating from farm buildings in Northumberland, the organisation has grown to become a significant healthcare provider. We are developing our specialist care services arm to extend into other parts of the North East.

David Harrison, MD of Helping Hands, said: “I’m privileged to be overseeing the continued development of Helping Hands and to be here to acknowledge the organisation’s 30th anniversary. It’s strength and sustainability are based around our people and the high level of care they deliver to service users around the region.

“For those with the right approach and attitude, homecare can be very fulfilling and satisfying work. My focus is to ensure we have the right people and systems in place to ensure Helping Hands will celebrate another big milestone in the next decade and more.”


November 7, 2018 Latest News

Government must stop dithering over social care and accelerate plans to introduce a properly funded mechanism for the embattled sector, according to David Harrison, MD of Helping Hands Community Care.

He has echoed the views of England’s social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which earlier this year stated the social care sector (including homecare services) had reached a ’tipping point’.

He says: “Repeated warning signs from the social care sector – including homecare services in which I operate – are sympathetically heard by our politicians but their promised action never follows

“We’re at a point where deterioration in quality will outpace improvement and where there’s likely to be a substantial increase in people whose needs will not being met.

“Good quality, reliable home care for the elderly and vulnerable should not be a privilege. It should be a basic requirement in a wealthy, modern society.

“Our local councils face ridiculous demands form central government to cut public services. As a result, budgets for social care provision are under unrealistic pressure.

“The investment local authorities are able to make does not reflect the true cost of delivering the necessary care. Shrinking net budgets mean fewer people can access homecare at a time the population is ageing, and demand is increasing.

“The current system is not sustainable. Helping Hands, which operates in North East England, is in a stronger position than most but the rates of pay the sector can offer is depressed. This means there is a constant 25pc – 30pc turnover in staff. Homecare and the whole social care sector is under threat from chronic under-funding.”

A newly published report by the UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) – entitled The Homecare Deficit 2018 – highlights that councils are buying vital homecare services for the elderly on the cheap from private providers across the UK.

More than 4.1m hours of state-funded homecare are bought each week in the UK which enables more than 850,000 people to be supported in the home and to live independently within their local community.

Research by UKHCA found that only one in seven councils was paying a fair price for care.

In the North East, the weighted average price paid for older people’s homecare by the 12 local authorities which buy homecare was £14.15 per hour. The UKHCA estimates the level should be more than £18 per hour. The North East has the lowest weighted average in England’s nine government regions, and second-lowest in the twelve regions of the UK, when Northern Ireland’s exceptionally low rates are considered.

David Harrison added: “This is not a sector crying wolf. Around the country, there is evidence of homecare providers ceasing trading and handing back homecare contracts to their statutory sector purchasers because of inadequate fee levels.

“National politicians have known this for years. They turn a blind eye. A Green Paper promising a new funding system continues to be delayed but it’s now time for the government to stop dithering and take urgent action to deliver a long-term funding solution for social care.”


July 15, 2018 Latest News

Helping Hands Community Care has expanded its senior management team to lead and manage the delivery of its specialist care services.

We recently appointed Sharon King as the new head of specialist care services, alongside Sandra Vitty, who has been appointed as branch manager.

The newly-appointed team, operating from our Cramlington branch office, will oversee the care and support for a range of complex needs. These include learning difficulties, post-traumatic brain injuries, challenging behaviours, children and family services, autism, mental health and supported living.

Both Sandra and Sharon have strong backgrounds within the healthcare sector, which includes overseeing or providing care services in challenging environments.

Sharon who is from Sunderland has over 20 years’ experience, largely in care management, having held roles as a support manager, registered manager and as a regional manager. Sandra, from Dunston in Gateshead, has more than 10 years of experience, which comes primarily from working in private care home environments.

Sharon King said: “I’m thrilled to have joined Helping Hands as it goes from strength to strength, rebranding, relocating, expanding its services and creating new jobs, as well as putting emphasis on staff training and development.

“Although my job is demanding, and definitely isn’t without its challenges, it’s a very rewarding role and it’s great to see the difference that our standards of care can bring to our service users.”

Sandra Vitty said: “Helping Hands has a 550 strong team of hard-working staff across the organisation, all with the same goal of providing the best standard of care possible for our service users.”


May 15, 2018 Latest News

Helping Hands Community Care, the leading independent home care provider in Northumberland, is expanding its service – effective Monday May 14 2018 – following the withdrawal of Tynedale Care Ltd in the county.

All services provided by Tynedale Care, along with their team of 28 carers and five office staff, have been transferred across to Helping Hands.

David Harrison, our managing director at Helping Hands, said: “I can reassure all service users and their families that it is our intention to ensure continuity of care for everyone affected by the change.

“The transfer of services, to around 70 people, will not affect levels of care. Wherever possible we will aim to ensure that users will still receive care from the same people they’ve grown familiar with.

“Our care workers, many with specialist skills, go that extra mile to ensure users maximise the support they need in the comfort of their own home.”

We have been on a steady expansion programme during the last 12 months, investing in new branch offices, a training centre, IT and telecoms systems, along with new quality improvement systems. More than 550 people are currently employed, but we continue to recruit for home care workers, particularly in the more remote areas of west Northumberland.

Helping Hands is Northumberland County Council’s preferred provider in the Tynedale area.


May 9, 2018 Latest News

Well-known charity volunteer and Northumberland care worker Mary Robinson, MBE, recently stepped down from her role and retired, after almost 25 years of service.

Mary worked with us at Helping Hands Community Care for over two decades, providing care to hundreds of people across West Northumberland. During that time, we believe she made around 50,000 home visits and travelled over 43,000 miles.

Early in May, we also said farewell to Sylvia McBrien, our specialist services manager, who had dedicated more than 25 years with Helping Hands. Her retirement was marked with an office reception at our Cramlington branch followed by a shindig with friends, service users and close family at Seaton Terrace Club, Seaton Delaval.

Long-time colleague Alison Dickson, branch manager East Northumberland, said: “It was an emotional day. We had worked together for around 30yrs. Sylvia was a real character who was well-liked by colleagues and service users and will be greatly missed.”

Meanwhile, Mary, 74, from Hexham, celebrated her long length of service surrounded by her colleagues who organised an afternoon tea for her on April 25.

Nicola Taylor, branch manager for West Northumberland, said: “Mary has been a highly valued colleague and a friend to many while she has worked for Helping Hands, so I really wanted to organise something special before she left us to enjoy her retirement.

“Not only has she made an impact on the staff she worked with but our service users and their families as well. Mary has always been a very selfless person, who was always willing to go the extra mile to help others, which made her a great home carer. After all these years with us, she deserves some well-earned time to herself.”

Dozens of colleagues paid tribute to Mary, with one colleague dubbing her as ‘’Mrs Helping Hands’’ and describing her as an inspiration.

Alongside her role as a home carer, Mary has also been a key part of her community. She was awarded an MBE in 2012 for her services to the Red Cross, after volunteering for more than 1,000 hours a year


March 7, 2018 Latest News

Helping Hands has embarked on its most significant recruitment drive for several years in Tynedale and the west of Northumberland.

A publicity and media campaign has been designed and implemented to combine local cinema, bus and press advertising with door-to-door leafleting to more than 16,000 homes.

Advertising began at the start of March with ads showing at Fuse Cinema, Prudhoe; the full campaign, which will see leaflets dropped into homes in Hexham, Corbridge, Bardon Mill, Haltwhistle, Chollerford, Acomb, Otterburn, Bellingham, Wark and further afield runs until the end of May.

We currently have a team of around 450 homecare workers operating across the entire county and need to recruit at least another 50 to provide better and more sustainable services.

Managing director David Harrison explained: “Homecare work suits a range of different people, often at different stages of a person’s life. The flexible nature of the job, working around local communities and the weekly hours means it can be attractive to anybody who has a caring attitude and wants full or part-time work.

“Our rates of pay are better than the industry standard and we offer all new care workers high quality training to meet the different needs and deliver the best care in the sector.” Past experience in the sector is not essential.

Mr Harrison added: “Many people find homecare a really rewarding job. You are helping the old, disabled and vulnerable live as independent a life as possible within their own homes. Some service users just need a daily helping hand and a weekly companion; often, our carers develop real friendships with the people using our services.”

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact 01661 520 935 or visit


February 26, 2018 Latest News

Helping Hands has established a new HR team to help manage our expansion.

Andrea Guy, 47, recently joined as HR manager, alongside Tracy Thomas, 51, HR and group administrator.

The two new appointments come after our rebrand and relocation to new offices. We currently employ more than 450 people, with further plans to recruit at least 50 more.

Both Andrea and Tracy are based in the Cramlington office but will work between Cramlington and Hexham to provide support to home care staff working across East and West Northumberland.

Andrea, from Blyth, joins Helping Hands with a wealth of business and HR experience. For seven years, she worked in HR management, and prior to that, worked as a business manager for 14 years. Although Andrea has no prior healthcare experience, she became aware of homecare when her friend was diagnosed with cancer.  Andrea assisted a homecare team in looking after her friend and has been passionate about homecare ever since.

She said: “I’m delighted to have joined Helping Hands, and can’t wait to get stuck in. I’m really looking forward to facing new challenges and working with Tracy to provide support to the home care staff across the business.

“Tracy and I are very keen on raising the profile of HR. We are operating an open-door policy and want to emphasise that whatever the issue or query is, we are approachable, friendly and will make time to discuss any issues.”

Tracy, from Whitley Bay, returns to our organisation as an HR and group administrator after previously working as an admin assistant through a temporary recruitment agency. Prior to joining Helping Hands, she worked in a GP surgery, maintaining records and assisting with any queries.

“I really like the fact that I am in a role where I play a part in resolving issues and being able to help others. I’m excited to be working alongside Andrea, knowing that we both have a similar thought process and are passionate about raising HR’s profile. I am really pleased to be returning to Helping Hands.”

Alison Dickson, registered branch manager for East Northumberland said: “Andrea and Tracy have already proved themselves to be an asset to Helping Hands. They have made such a big difference to how human resources functions within the organisation. Their strong work ethic and approachability have allowed for more effective communications between staff across Northumberland.”


February 21, 2018 Latest News

Helping Hands recently invested in new branch offices in the east and west of the county as part of a major expansion programme.

In our drive to provide general and specialist services to allow people who are elderly, disabled or suffering from dementia live in their homes, we’re looking to recruit more than 50 care workers to our 450-strong team.

Elsewhere, we recently moved to Haugh Lane, Hexham from its former Stocksfield office; and relocated from Blyth to Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington.

The relocations coincide with organisational changes within the management team and the operations team. Alison Dickson manages a completely restructured team in Cramlington while Nicola Taylor is branch manager of a new-look team in Hexham.

Managing director David Harrison explained: “Helping Hands has gone through a huge period of change and restructuring these last 12 months or more. These were essential changes to ensure we met regulatory requirements and could operate more efficiently.

“We have invested heavily in more robust office support functions and telecoms while also improving the quality of our training, documentation and quality assurance programmes.

“Helping Hands has changed and modernised to ensure we deliver a high-quality level of care that’s demanded from our service users and makes us more sustainable for the long term.”

Mr Harrison explained that a company re-branding exercise was also a part of the wider modernisation programme; this has resulted in a new website, staff uniforms, staff ID badges and liveried vehicles.

“The visible changes to our logo, communications and uniform simply reflect the wider transformation underway at Helping Hands. More importantly, quality and service standards are also rising across the organisation,” he said.

Helping Hands is planning to expand its range of services and provide more specialist and complex care support.


November 1, 2017 Latest News

Helping Hands continues to expand home care and specialist support services across Northumberland – and we are recruiting to meet growth.

We already employ a dedicated team of more than 500 people who work tirelessly throughout the county.

Candidates with or without experience in the care sector are invited to apply for posts as homecare support workers.

New recruits, male and female, are needed to work in Bellingham, Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge and Hexham in the west of Northumberland; recruits are also required to work in the east of the county in Seaton Delaval, Cramlington, and Bedlington.

Amber Bays, head of HR, says: “These are great roles for people who have a care background and, or a caring attitude. The job can be tailored to suit the individual. We can offer flexible working hours and shifts.

“It can be a demanding role, but it’s often highly fulfilling, helping people maintain a quality of life in the comfort of their own home. You can really make a difference to the lives of others.”

Rates of pay are above average in the sector and we have a fabulous training programme. Anyone interested should call 01661 520935 or fill in the form online on this website.


November 1, 2017 Latest News

Improvement changes within Helping Hands are now being reflected in our company brand, communications and other materials.

The roll-out and implementation of an extensive investment and culture change programme which started during the summer of 2017 are now becoming more visible to staff and the people we care for.

The first visible evidence of change is our logo and a new website. Gone is the dated logo and website to be replaced with a modern, striking fluorescent green logo along with a highly responsive and informative website.

The new-look company identity, produced by Newcastle-based Room 8 Design, has been designed to stand-out and highlight the energy within the organisation. The hand script typeface promotes our personalised, hands-on approach to care.

This new look and style will be carried across and standardised on all other materials including a strongly branded uniform for care workers.

Our managing director David Harrison explained: “Helping Hands has been going through a significant period of investment and change during 2017. While there has been some disruption, I am delighted with the way this has progressed and how well our staff have embraced these changes.

“We are committed to driving forwards our improvement plan and a company-wide rebrand is the visible culmination of this change in our approach.

“The company name remains the same but the new logo better reflects our vision for the future and the energy we intend to bring to delivering high-quality care to our service users.

“The change in logo, website, uniforms, stationery and marketing materials may appear superficial but it is all part of a more profound, professional change in the way Helping Hands promotes itself and delivers care in the future.”

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