Making it safer for elderly relatives to live independently at home in Dorset.

Making it safer for elderly relatives to live independently at home in Dorset.

There is lots of support for elderly to maintain living independently at home in Dorset.  There are many voluntary groups, charities and professional services to help achieve this aim.  We have collated a list of the most helpful websites and online directories which cover many aspects of home care, and these are listed below.

The Dorset Council and the Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council websites provide access to many of these resources.

 There are also organisations that provide specific support and help, ranging from gardening to cutting nails. 

Charities in Dorset

The main charities supporting older people live independently in Dorset are Age UK , Pramacare and Age Concern.  They cover different areas but there is some overlap which can be a bit confusing.   Individual local services provided at each may differ, but overall the provision of support and help includes advice and legal support including housing, help at home, befriending and outreach as well as social activities. For more information see below.

 Based on Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, services provided include nail cutting, car transport, advice and befriending.  Age UK Bournemouth also runs computer courses and regular lunch clubs and social activities.


Age Concern Christchurch started as a lunch club in 1980 Age Concern Christchurch now operates 4 minibuses providing transport for shopping or appointments as well as outings to see the Kinston Lacey snowdrops for example.  Their legal and advice services are based in offices behind their shop at 85 Bargates.


AgeUK Dorchester provides a range of services in west Dorset, including advice, help at home, running activities and befriending through the Reach Out service – volunteer befrienders visit lonely older people in the community who have no one to talk to. The main office and day centre is at Rowan Cottage on Princes Street in Dorchester.

For more information on both and other aspects of AgeUK’s work, please visit

Pramacare ( is a charity providing at home care services across Dorset, a range of clubs and activities in local communities.  Their aim is to help older people to live independently in their own home with the care they need.  Pramacare is one of Age Space’s partners, and you can find more information here.

Services include personal care, sitting services, nail cutting and domestic support.  In local communities their provide a range of services including pop-in, special interest and dementia clubs. See PramaCARE for details on domiciliary care service and PramaLIFE for more details on all community services.  Age Concern Poole (ACP) provided helpful services for many of the elderly residents in Poole. Prama now wholly run these as Prama Plus Poole (PPP).

British Red Cross  has two mobility services in Dorset, in Poundbury and Poole from where it also provides a support at home service.

Royal Voluntary Service – Formerly known as the Womens Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS), Royal Voluntary Service volunteers support thousands of older people every day to stay independent in their own homes and enrich their lives.

Whether it’s Meals on Wheels, Good Neighbours and befriending services, the home library services (also known as Books on Wheels) or lifts to and from hospital and GP appointments, Royal Voluntary Service offers the practical help that can make all the difference.  The Good Neighbours and befriending services not only provide much-needed social contact for older people, they also contribute to hospital avoidance, a major social good


RURAL counties often have very poor public transport schemes – it can take four hours, for example, to get from Shaftesbury to Sherborne by public transport. So voluntary car schemes provide a crucially important service to support older people who may have given up driving, or may never have driven.

Country Car Schemes, operates in Beaminster and Maiden Newton areas –

Anyone eligible to use this service must contact the local organiser and give details of the transport required. Twenty-four hours notice is essential except in emergencies. If the trip is eligible the local organiser will ask one of the volunteer drivers to help. The driver then makes the trip noting the total mileage (which cannot be more than 50 miles for a round trip).

The passenger makes a contribution of 45p a mile based upon the mileage travelled and receives a receipt from the driver. The additional costs are subsidised by Dorset County Council.

The Dorset Country Cars scheme is run entirely by volunteers.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles: You will need to contact the scheme organiser for confirmation of whether a wheelchair accessible vehicle is available for your journey. Eligibility and range of requirements:

  • To visit the doctor, dentist, clinic, or chiropodist
  • For hospital appointments and to visit relatives and friends in hospital
  • To collect prescriptions
  • To connect with bus, coach or rail services
  • For any other essential trips for which there is no reasonable alternative means of transport

Full details, and list of villages and settlements covered by Dorset Country Cars:

NeighbourCar Scheme operates in many parts of Dorset.

The Partnership for Older People Programme (POPP) currently funds 23 community car schemes across the county. Each scheme is run by the community, for the community; everyone is a volunteer and each scheme is different. The umbrella name is ‘NeighbourCar’ but each community decides the name it wants to use.

The types of journey that are possible can include:

  • medical trips (to the surgery, dentist, optician and hospital appointments)
  • shopping
  • social gatherings
  • church
  • other appointments e.g. hairdressers, vets

Charges for the various community and voluntary car schemes range from 45p to 50p per mile.  For information on the various schemes, visit the Community Transport Directory on Dorset For You, covers volunteer car schemes, Dial-a-Ride services and car clubs.  Full details, including maps, guidance on setting up a voluntary car scheme in your area, and the directory are at:


Roots Gardening Services provides a gardening service to older and disabled people who can no longer manage their garden, in Bournemouth and Poole.  The gardening service is provided by a team of volunteers who are recovering from mental ill health and are trained and supervised by a Help & Care Garden Services Worker.  It has been in operation since 1989 and was the first practical service developed by Help & Care. Roots launched as a social enterprise in 2010. It is funded by the Clinical Commissioning Group for Dorset, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and Bournemouth Borough Council.

The Roots service costs £19 per hour and is aimed specifically at helping older and disabled people. This service operates three days a week, Tuesday to Thursday.  Call: 0300 111 3303

Sources of help to live independently

Partnership for Older People Programme (POPP)

POPP aims to enable older people to remain living in their own homes for as long as they wish by developing appropriate services and activities at a local level.  Dorset POPP is funded by Dorset Council and Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group. Dorset has been broken down into 33 clusters to ensure local focus and delivery for all elements of the programme.  To contact POPP – call on 01202 946111 or 01305 548111 or visit the PoPP website.

Help and Care 

Starting as a small charity in 1985, Help and Care has grown into an organsation that promotes dignity and independence for all people, particularly those in later life. It offers services in Dorset and across the south coast.  Services and specific areas of operation include: advocacy, carers, Handiworks Plus, Healthworks, My Health My Way, POPP, Roots, a one-to-one service for people affected by cancer, and volunteering.

My Life My Care

My Life My Care is a very helpful area of Dorset For You, full of advice and useful addresses. The most important section is the Dorset Carers Hub which is a valuable and very well arranged directory that covers Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset, providing information and advice, support and services for carers, financial help and advice, health and wellbeing, and a service providers directory.

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