A HOMECARE company has unveiled plans to extend a community-based initiative which brings together carers and isolated customers.

The plans include a scheme which is aiming to bridge the generation gap between children and the elderly.

The Redcar and Cleveland Caremark is hoping to build on the success of its “safe place” initiative, which it started last year as a weekly social gathering.

People meet in the clubhouse at Redcar Town Football Club (RTFC) every week, with the aim of giving them the chance to socialise and support the health and wellbeing of Caremark's 250 members of staff.

The company, which started the project last year, is hoping to involve more customers and carers in 2020, as well as opening it up to other members of the local community.

It has appointed a dedicated events coordinator, Kelly Brearley, who will be responsible for devising the activities which will take place each week and ensuring customers can attend regularly by organising transport etc.

The former nurse joined Caremark as a carer in 2014 and is now the company’s in-house trainer, focusing on the administration of medication.

She said: “We have many customers who don’t have family support or social networks, so the safe place gives them somewhere to come to take part in activities whilst getting to meet new people, make new friends and hopefully give them a new sense of purpose.

“We’re also just as much focusing on our staff as well, so it’s a place they can come for a break, a chat or to ask for support.

“Caring is such a rewarding job, but it can also be stressful too, so the safe place is about recognising this and ensuring we do our bit to promote positive mental health and wellbeing among our staff.”

The company is planning to introduce intergenerational care at the initiative, bringing together children and older people so they can share experiences about their respective childhoods and how things used to be, as compared to what they are like now.

Ms Brearley added: “The first-ever safe place session took place in the half-term holidays in October, so many of our carers brought their children and they took part in activities with our customers.

“We now plan to do this during every school holiday because it has a positive impact on both young and old.”

Caremark was invited to stage the sessions after donating £2,000 to Redcar Town's appeal for funding for a new roof.