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Home repairs scheme to crack down on rip-off handy-men 3.11.11

Sutton Council is cracking down on cowboy builders and rip-off handy-men by offering a home repairs service aimed at elderly and disabled residents.

Home repairs scheme to crack down on rip-off handy-men

The Minor Home Repairs scheme matches vetted local traders with residents who need small essential jobs completing in their home. Residents pay for the materials needed for the work and, depending on their circumstances, part or nearly all of the labour costs could be met by the council.

Work covered by the scheme includes: minor roof repairs including guttering and downpipes; plumbing; some work to boilers and heating systems and minor gas and electrical work.

Gwen Cotton, 87, of Carshalton, used the scheme back in June when she needed some guttering replaced. She said: "I found out about the scheme through a leaflet at my local church. I had a bad experience a while ago, with a plumber who charged me a lot of money for what turned out to be a very small job, so I was quite nervous about getting anyone in. But I thought because these people have been vetted by the council they'll be reputable.

"They were absolutely excellent; very friendly and they worked very hard. I only had to pay a small amount towards the labour, so it was a bargain too. I've been recommending it to friends; this way you know you're letting good, professional people into your home."

The scheme is run by the council's in-house home improvement agency, Sutton Staying Put, which provides support services for older, disabled and other vulnerable people to allow them to remain in their own homes.

 Anyone can approach the council for details of recommended local traders. To qualify for financial assistance residents must be aged 50 or over or a member of their household must be in receipt of disability living allowance.

Cllr Colin Stears, Executive Member for Adult Social Services and Health at Sutton Council, said: "Sadly, we hear reports of elderly or vulnerable residents being conned by unscrupulous tradesmen all too often. They blind their victims with science and jargon and then charge them an extortionate amount for what is often a very small job that should have cost just a few pounds.

"This scheme gives some of our most vulnerable residents the confidence to seek the help they need, and we can also help out financially if money is tight."

Find out more by contacting brenda.pike@sutton.gov.uk or barbara.scott@sutton.gov.uk or calling 020 8409 7061.

Last updated: Monday, 19 December 2011

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