West Norfolk Careline service welcomes first canine user

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Careline Community Services has welcomed its first four-legged user – an assistance dog, Nesta.

Working through West Norfolk Council, the organisation provides support for older, infirm and disabled people to live safely and securely in their own homes.

Careline alarms, which can be worn around the neck or on the wrist, help thousands of people to live independently. Once pressed, the alarm connects straight through the wearer’s telephone line to a 24-hour call centre, from which an operator can alert a family member or the emergency services.

Adrian Lawrence, cabinet member for housing and community, said: “Currently we help around 5,000 people across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to live safely and securely in their own homes.”

One of those who has been helped is Jill Dowding-Walker, of Whittlesey, who was diagnosed with Fibromialgia and M.E in 2008.

Following a bad fall earlier this year, Jill decided to have an alarm installed so help would be available if her husband and full-time carer, Graham, was out of the house.

Since then, Jill has worked with Nesta to train her to activate the alarm if Jill is unable to press the button.

Nesta, who was trained by Canine Partners – a registered charity which trains and arranges homes for assistance dogs - empties the washing machine, brings the phone when it is ringing and collects the post, as well as accompanying Jill whenever she leaves the house.

Jill said: “Having a Careline alarm has increased my peace of mind and my independence without the need to have another person around.

For more information about Careline Community Service visit: www.careline-cs.org.uk or call 01553 760671.

To find out more about Canine Partners visit: www.caninepartners.org.uk or call 08456 580480.