"My needs are simple" my father often said during his elderly years. More or less
housebound in his own home, he needed help with shopping, meals and a bit of company.
Not complicated requirements, but even though I lived just ten miles away it was
not easy to achieve.
Every time I drove away from a visit, as I passed his neighbour's houses, I was struck by the same thoughts.
We've all seen the newspaper reports on elderly statistics.
16% of UK's population of 61 million is over 65 years old.
That's 16 in every 100 people. And they don't all live in one place, they live in all our neighbourhoods throughout the country.
A little research into population densities showed that within a half-mile radius of my father's house, on average, there should be as many as 80 people over 65 years old,
not all in need of help, some would still be reasonably mobile.
And its a fair bet that at least a few would welcome some modestly paid work as a carer.
Or perhaps something in exchange, a cooked meal for doing the shopping, use of a car or a garden, there are many possibilities.
Charging minimum wage, a private hire carer would cost around a quarter of the price of agency carers, with no travel costs.
In Reading in May 2010, agency rates are £12 - £15 per hour,
with their care workers paid around £7.50 per hour, minimum wage being £5.80 per hour.
That's an amazing difference in cost. The problem of course lies in reaching out and contacting these individuals.
And in a nutshell that's the mission. To mobilise residents at the level of the postcode to provide
"private hire" home-help within their own neighbourhood.
In my parents time the noticeboards of the post office or newsagents served this purpose.
Now its more difficult. So I've created and launched SimpleNeeds.co.uk,
the UK's first specialised internet noticeboard to be devoted exclusively to Home Help Wanted & Offered advertisements.
I hope my website is helpful.