As the son of another client of Jemma’s, there’s a heart-warming story to be told of Jemma and a gentleman called, Ernest.

In July 2013, Five Towns Home Assistance opened its doors with a vision to help the community and fill a gap in helping residents maintain independence and dignity at home.

By September 2013, the client list was building, and Jemma was asked to assist a local gentleman, Ernest, whose family lived across the globe in Australia. Working with a local solicitor in Garforth, Jemma agreed to take Ernest under her wing as an independent and personal advocate for his wellbeing.

As Ernest’s advocate, Jemma dealt with his day to day living needs over the autumn and winter months, however in early 2014, Ernest’s mental health began to deteriorate, needing more assistance than Jemma could provide alone.

To ensure Ernest’s safety and wellbeing, Jemma asked a trusted support worker, Tracy Todd to help and together they visited daily and made sure he was eating healthily, kept mentally stimulated and took him everywhere: out for lunch, shopping and to community social events.

Naturally, with Ernest’s mental health deteriorating, Jemma would get dozens of calls, at all times of the day as his memory failed and the confusion and frustration of his illness intensified. She just smiled and was always happy to listen, often going over to check on him, irrespective of the time of day.

By September 2014, Ernest’s illness had taken its toll and a decision had to be made regarding his safety, health and wellbeing that would change Ernest’s life forever. As Ernest’s advocate, Jemma made the difficult decision to find Ernest a suitable Residential Home.

As a child or family member looking after a parent or an elderly relative, or as a personal advocate like Jemma, looking after the wellbeing of a client, making such a realisation and subsequent decision to move them under the care of a Residential Home can be heartbreaking. The feeling that you may have failed them and the guilt is only natural, even though it’s in their best interests to keep them safe.

As owner of Five Towns Home Assistance, Jemma passionately tries her hardest to help clients stay home for as long as possible, as the familiarity and comfort that a person’s home can provide is immeasurable. This passion is echoed by the senior support managers and support team members, who are now very much part of the Five Towns Home Assistance mission.

On a personal note, this is why Jemma understands how difficult it can be on families to make these decisions and why the team is so passionate about what they do. It sounds cliched, but Five Towns Home Assistance is more than a ‘job’ to Jemma and her support team.

Jemma with the support of Tracy, finally found a suitable Residential Home, where they knew Ernest would settle, knowing that the family would be able to phone him from Australia regularly.

Jemma promised Ernest that she would ‘see it through to the end’. Herself and Tracy continued to visit and take him out where possible, with Jemma still acting as his personal advocate. He would love a pint at a local pub or a visit to a local café and was always happy to see them both.

If he was having a bad day, the Home would call Jemma and ask for her to visit, where she would attend and reassure him everything was going to be OK.

Ernest fell asleep on the 11th of July, on his 96th Birthday, 3 years after him moving into the care home. Three days later, Ernest passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday the 14th of July 2017, with Jemma by his side.

Over the following week, Jemma then went on to arrange Ernest’s funeral, and as Ernest had served in the Royal Airforce, an RAF send-off was organised in loving memory of a special man, who made her the passionate person she is today; for all her clients, past and present and their families.

–        Written by the son of another client.

Best In-Home Support Services Provider – West Yorkshire

Five Towns Home Assistance offers a range of home support services to a range of clients. Having recently been recognised in our prestigious Yorkshire & Humber Enterprise Awards 2018, we felt it was high time we invited the firm’s Founder and Manager Jemma Clarkson-Mitchell to tell us more. 

Drawing on Jemma’s local knowledge and dedication to supporting her clients, Five Towns Home Assistance offers a wide range of services including companionship, sitting services, cleaning and cooking, as well as wellbeing checks.

Quality is central to the firm’s service offering, and as such, Five Towns Home Assistance is fully insured, and all Support Workers have enhanced DBS checks, ID badges and are smartly dressed in uniform. Jemma discusses how the firm came into being when she noticed that there was no similar offering available.

“Personally, I noticed a gap in the market five years ago, and as a result of this I resolved to come up with a business plan for a business to provide some services without needing to be a Care Company, but a ‘Supporting Agency Instead’. All this means is we cannot do regulated activities like personal care and are not regulated by CQC, whilst at the same time providing clients with the solutions they want.

“After all, it is my belief that clients should not have to pay care prices just if all they need is basic services such as shopping and company. This is how Five Towns Home Assistance came into being, and today we offer an array of services which are more cost effective to clients that just need support to stay independent, in their own homes.”

Over the years, Five Towns Home Assistance has flourished thanks to its unique offering and dedication to excellence. Jemma shares an insight into her firm’s service offering and why she believes this is so important in today’s society.

“Owing to a wide range of factors, the elderly are living longer, and whilst many are able to live unaided, they often require minor support or assistance. In our market currently, the options their families are given is hiring either a cleaning firm which don’t offer other services or a care agency, which can be expensive and often do not provide the exact level of service that the client requires.

“That is where we come in. Here at Five Towns Home Assistance, we offer a wide range of support, to clients and their families before a full-time care team is needed, as this can be very costly. Services offered range from making client’s meals, to just been there to support everyday life, simple tasks like making a drink, or reading letters, or even just someone to talk too. Additionally, we also offer cleaning services, shopping services to which some clients need support, whilst their family are at work. This unique combination of support and cleaning services ensures that clients receive the support they need, and that their loved ones are well cared for.”

As its name suggests, Five Towns Home Assistance is a local company that supports both clients and the local community in and around Yorkshire, as Jemma is particularly keen to highlight.

“Being a Yorkshire Girl coming from a Yorkshire town, like all the Support Workers who work at Five Towns Home Assistance, I feel, by doing our job we are giving something back to our local communities. As part of this focus, we support many small businesses in our areas where we work, taking clients to local cafes, local butchers, and not just the big supermarket’s etc., visiting a local park and enjoy a simple ice cream and just having a chat.”

“Alongside the local community, our offering is particularly important to our clients, as Social Care cut-backs have really hit our local communities, and budget cuts in Wakefield and Leeds Districts have had a knock-on effect on our elderly. Some of our client’s only see us because they have no family, or their relatives no longer live in the local area. As such, we provide a vital local service for a variety of client/service users.”

In her concluding comments Jemma outlines how she and her dedicated team will continue to provide their clients and community with the same high-quality service offering that has led the firm to its current reputation for excellence.

“Ultimately, at Five Towns Home Assistance the support of our service users is our most important aim. Therefore, each service user’s agreed support plan has been individually collated for that particular individual in accordance to their wishes, choices and personal preferences and decisions about their respective support, and this bespoke approach is key and remains at the forefront of our focus.”

Garforth Neighbourhood Elders Team (NET) approached Five Towns Home Assistance in April 2019, to join forces for a new Dementia Support Group to be held at Vicar’s Court in Garforth.

The aim of the group is to help stimulate the minds of those with Dementia and/or Alzheimers and help them to reminisce of days gone-by with old fashion games, Bingo, singing and dancing. The day also includes a lunch and treats throughout the day and also gives carers and loved ones a break of up to 6 hours, once a week.

The Dementia Day was largely funded by Garforth NET, however Five Towns Home Assistance raised over £800 through a JustGiving page and arranged a Christmas Raffle, which included a large hamper, donated by Five Towns Home Assistance.

Some clients felt alone due to their Dementia and the Dementia Support Group has been seen to have made a huge difference. Everyone singing together and getting up and dancing is a wonderful experience for them and many haven’t had the opportunity to do it since they were young.

Dementia Support Group

The benefits to socialisation and communication are also invaluable as seen by one client who learnt how to communicate again after the disease had taken her voice.

Garforth NET is at the heart of the LS25 and LS25 community and works across the thirteen (13) villages of East Leeds, providing support to older people, over the age of 60 and their carers.

NET’s main aims are to identify and respond to the needs of older people and their carers, reduce loneliness and isolation, promote healthy lifestyles, to enable older people to remain independently within their own community and to enjoy life. The group covers advice, assistance, social activities, befriending and one to one support.

Five Towns Home Assistance continues to support Garforth NET with funding wherever possible, helping prepare afternoon teas and assists with transport to the main hub as well as the running of the Dementia Group Day itself with Garforth NET.

Talk to one of our support team members to find out more.