THE Handy Person Scheme this week accepted its 500th job - far outstripping the projected performance that netted it a £110,000 National Lottery grant.

Major George Waugh, of Malvern Age Concern, said the service was going "tremendously" and making a real difference to elderly people in the Malvern Hills district.

"When a submission was made to the National Lottery it was on the basis of the need for around ten jobs a week," he said. "In fact, the service is running at between 18 and 20."

The Lottery grant funds the service for three years with Malvern Hills residents over 60 able to ring up for help with essential jobs. They only pay for materials - many of which are obtain at a discount thanks to support from local firms - not for the time the handy person puts in on the job.

Priority is given to security issues, such as replacing broken windows, but no job is too small.

"It's been going brilliantly," said Major Waugh. "We have done all sorts of things, from little things like putting light bulbs in to major things like changing doors for people - it's everything in between and people are really responding."

The scheme is a practical support for elderly people in the community and also helps people remain in their own homes.

There has been further good news in the shape of an £8,760 grant from the Eveson Trust, which has provided a replacement van for handy person Pat Loader.

Mr Loader is the main figure doing the work, although the scheme is also supported by seven volunteers working in their particular communities.