Presto – the new Leeds City Council service offering a helping hand around the house


At some point in our lives we may all need to call on that extra bit of help. From sweeping the path, to cleaning the house and getting the groceries keeping up with the demands of the home can become a challenge. A new service from Leeds City Council, committed to delivering the highest standards of care and safety is being piloted in Moor Allerton before being rolled out across the city to help people live safe and well at home. I spoke with Katie Goodall, the Project Officer for Presto and asked her to tell me more about the scheme.

Katie Goodall

Katie Goodall

Katie: Growing up, my grandparents always lived far away. I’m talking thousands of miles far away in the southern United States. For me this predominantly meant taking exciting travels every year, but in later years it meant overhearing difficult conversations between my parents, discussing how they could possibly offer support to them as my grandparents grew older.

It wasn’t that they needed a huge amount of support to begin with – just help with keeping up with the demands of the home that, if we had lived down the road from them, we may have been able to manage.

However, because of the distance, we weren’t able to. Though my grandparents managed fine for a number of years, eventually they made the difficult decision to move out of their home of 20 years and in to supported living. This isn’t an unusual path to take in the United States, and certainly isn’t here in the United Kingdom.

We know how important it is for people to be able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Leeds has made long strides in supporting older people in maintaining their independence and do just this. The Neighbourhood Networks, for example, have worked hard to help people stay connected to their communities and the council’s Community Meals Leeds service continues to grow from strength to strength.

Civic Enterprise Leeds, part of Leeds City Council, is supporting older peoples’ independence though a new pilot service – Presto. Presto is committed to delivering the highest standards of care and safety to its customers, along with support at home and transport services too. Services include:

  • companionship – a flexible service which can include tasks such as help with cooking, shopping, attending appointments or just spending quality time at home
  • cleaning – including basic cleaning jobs as well as moving furniture
  • handyperson – available for all sorts of odd jobs such as clearing pathways, unblocking sinks, fixing doors and minor decorative touch ups and
  • transport – a service to help people get out and about and dropped off or picked up in Leeds

Presto is made up of council staff from the existing care staff teams which means they have been DBS (security) checked as well as receiving safeguarding and welfare training. Services are available to be booked for as many or as few days as required.

Although Presto is a service offered by Leeds City Council, it is not funded by the council but through payments from customers.

Julie Hatton, the Head of Service for Passenger Transport who is managing Presto says:

“Presto offers the opportunity for people to have a helping hand around the home and to get out and about around the community.  It can also provide peace of mind for carers in knowing there is a professional service to support their loved ones if they can’t always be there in person. We hope the service really takes off and makes a real difference to people’s lives.”

Working in conjunction with Adult Social Care, the Presto pilot went live at the end of April in the Moor Allerton area of the city.

Presto companions, Christine Ward and Marianne Dudley

Presto companions, Christine Ward and Marianne Dudley

Orders have now started coming in for the service. Mrs H is one customer who has booked a regular cleaning appointment with Presto. She talked to me about what she thought of the service so far –

“The cleaners always come in very cheerful and do all the work very willingly. I can’t praise them enough! It’s also nice to know that they come from the council; you know they have had the right checks. It has helped me tremendously.”

Christine Ward, who now works as a Presto companion, echoes that sentiment.

“Presto offers a service that can make a huge difference. If someone is feeling lonely, someone going in for a couple hours a week can open a lot of doors. Knowing that I’ve made a difference, even if it is small, means everything to me.”

Katie added. “The hope is that the pilot will grow so that it can provide a key, single point for support for older people at home across the city. Certainly in speaking to my Mum about Presto, she has said on a number of occasions how she wished something like it had been available for my grandparents. To know there were trusted people helping ensure the house was in order may have made all the difference.”

Further details for Presto can be found on here or contact the office on 0113-378-3750

Katie Goodall, Presto Project Officer

About betterlivesleeds

Health, social and age-related care services working together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing
This entry was posted in Active ageing, Age Friendly, Carers, Choice, Community Meals, Health and Wellbeing, Independence, Nutrition, older people, Physical disability, Transforming care services, volunteering and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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