Lofty Heights are a non-profit organisation providing specialist decluttering, deep cleaning and garden services working closely with the NHS, local authorities, and charities providing specialist support to more vulnerable people in the community.
When the first lockdown was announced, without hesitation their team ‘volunteered’ to carry on working because of their commitment to the NHS, providing their Homeward Bound Hospital Discharge Service. This service was more essential than ever, helping to prevent delayed discharges, freeing up hospital beds quickly for use by those affected by COVID-19 and giving them the chance to receive life-saving treatment.
The funding they have received from the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund has enabled them to purchase key-safes and a drill to enable the fit of vital key-safes at the properties of patients who live alone. Usually, the team has to go to the hospital to collect keys from the patient and then go back to the hospital to return the keys. Having the key safe and the ability for the team to install them (because of having a decent drill), keys can now be left safely at the property removing the necessity to make a return trip to hospitals to return keys.
In spite of all the challenges, one year on, this organisation has helped more than 420 people return from hospital, to a home safer and cleaner than the one they left, with the hospital beds and other equipment in place to enable care to continue at home where necessary. Often, the team were sent to prepare the home for ‘end of life care’, allowing people the opportunity to die at home in a familiar place and in the company of loved ones.
Olive and her team of volunteers were so quick to adapt their services to continue helping so many individuals and their families. Unlike other parts of the country, Suffolk has not reported patients waiting for hours in the back of ambulances due to bed shortages and a huge reason for this has been the fantastic Homeward Bound Service that this team offer that has played a huge part in.
Lofty Heights CIC has always been about listening to and responding to the needs of the individuals. The group will look to recruit a mental health worker on their team for a time. Like all things this will take resources to fund such a post, but the benefits to individuals, their families and local authorities out way the costs.
Without the support of local people giving so generously to Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal, and for the work of the team at Suffolk Community Foundation for distributing funding from it so quickly, we may not have been able to reflect on the difference we have made this past year and really may have had to ‘shut up shop’. We are just so grateful that this hasn’t been the case and we have been able to continue our services thanks to this funding. Thank you.