A PIONEERING scheme to bring the community into two care homes has been launched.

The Corner House in Wash Lane, Clacton, and the Corner Lodge in Meadow Way, Jaywick, netted grants from Essex County Council.

The funding has allowed the homes to each employ a project and activity co-ordinators for about 24 hours a week.

Their job will be to find and train volunteers to visit the residents regularly.

Rahul Jagota, who runs the homes with brother Sanjay, said: “The goal is to bring the community into the care homes.

“It’s difficult for residents to get out so we are thinking of a way of getting people in.

“We are trying to get them to visit regularly as opposed to a one-off visit during the Christmas period.

“Volunteers can do anything they like - be involved in taking the residents on trips, helping them do gardening, setting up activities.”

“If you are part of an organisation, club, school, college or church and would like to visit us regularly then please come and see us.”

Mr Jagota said the innovative initiative follows a Help the Aged scheme it trialled.

“We don’t have the time to do it ourselves so these grants are excellent news,” he continued.

“It’s easy to say we are going to get volunteers but getting people in and training them is very difficult.

“We are not perfect and I think it’s an area we can improve on both the homes.

“We know we are the only homes in the area doing this and maybe the only ones in Essex.”

The Corner House has the capacity for 54 residents and is the only home in Tendring to have secured an “excellent” Commission for Social Care Inspection rating.

The Corner Lodge, a dementia care home with 46 residents, has a “good” rating.

The homes are holding open days for prospective volunteers on February 19 to 21.

- THE posts will continue to be funded when the one-off funding runs out, according to Mr Jagota.

He did not want to announce the amount because it would reveal the co-ordinators’ salaries.

The combined total of the grants is thought to be a five-figure sum.

“To get the grant is invaluable in terms of the service we can provide and ultimately the care and provision to our residents,” he continued.

“The care industry is very underfunded which is a countrywide issue.

“It is particularly an issue in Tendring being the most underfunded in Essex but has the most care homes.”

Essex County Council announced the investment for care providers in July.

The cash was earmarked for projects that deliver improvements for quality of life and raise Key National Minimum Standards.

A County Hall spokesman said: “Essex County Council was delighted to support bids from The Corner House, Clacton, and Corner Lodge, Jaywick, to expand these homes' existing programmes of activities for residents including recruitment and training of project/activities co-ordinators, purchasing activities including sensory and art, computer and broadband and recruitment of volunteers and trips outside the homes."