Elderly people who require specialist equipment & personalised information to continue living at home, despite health conditions which might otherwise prevent this, are to receive a more comprehensive service than ever in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire County Council has welcomed an exciting and innovative private and voluntary sector collaboration, between a local charity and a respected leading service provider has led to the enhancement and expansion of an existing service, providing equipment and advice to people in Oxfordshire.

Guideposts, the Witney-based disability & mental health charity, and Millbrook Healthcare a leading national equipment service provider, have unveiled a plan, to develop and deliver their face-to-face independent living support, public retail and electronic health information services, at sites across Thames Valley, The Midlands and the West Country, before ultimately going nationwide.

The boards of both organisations have agreed they can help meet the needs of more people, in more communities, by pooling their staff expertise and resources within Millbrook’s innovative “mi-life” mobility centres – where Guideposts’ will also be able to showcase their new health management & carer-support service, which they have called “Here”.

Oxfordshire County Council has a contract with Millbrook Healthcare to provide equipment for people in their own homes as well as a retail outlet providing equipment and assessment at the Millbrook Healthcare building at Milton Park, Didcot.

Recently, the Council was approached by Millbrook Healthcare to discuss the possibility of a partnership between Millbrook Healthcare and Guideposts Trust. This partnership would see Millbrook Healthcare’s retail function being transferred to Guideposts Trust.

Both organisations hope to develop and replicate the mobility centres across the country, to help people take more control of their own wellbeing at home. They believe this new and innovative partnership could potentially have wide reaching health and social care benefits, both in terms of costs and outcomes.

Since 2007 Guideposts’ Independent Living Centre (ILC) in Abingdon, has offered impartial advice & support to over 9000 Oxfordshire people, who lived with a long-term health or mobility issue.

Millbrook and Guideposts have agreed to continue to deliver Oxfordshire’s ILC from Millbrook’s new mi-life mobility centre in Milton Park, Abingdon, which forms part of the wider Oxfordshire community equipment service.

Guideposts will assume all responsibility for mi-life centre operations at Milton Park, as well as Millbrook’s mi-life centres in Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, and Dorset. Additionally, Guideposts will take over all ecommerce activities and support Millbrook’s new mobile assessment retail and information unit, which will deliver a community outreach, advice and retail service – reaching more people who cannot travel into town and increasing awareness and access to information, support and advice.

Millbrook Healthcare and Guidepost believe this exciting new partnership fills a void in the current mobility sector, delivering impartial equipment advice and information, as well as supporting the wider holistic needs of those in need of support and advice.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: The amount of care at home that the council is paying for has doubled in the last five years and this applies to older people as well as younger adults. More people are being cared for now than ever before.

“We know that older people and their families are at their happiest when living in their own home with their relatives and friends around them. The advent and increasing sophistication of equipment that allows them to do this is a real boon both to individual people and the council in terms of being able to provide a better quality of life for those in receipt of care. It’s a classic win-win.

“We therefore welcome this new partnership and look forward to seeing it blossom in coming months and years.”

For further details from Guideposts, please contact:

Stephanie Wright – Community Engagement Manager – SWright@guideposts.org.uk<mailto:swright@guideposts.org.uk> Tel 01993 893560

Ian Cumming MBE – icumming@guideposts.org.uk