Royal Voluntary Service and British Red Cross take positive steps to improve the independence of older people

Friday, 01 April 2016

Volunteer with older womanWe are joining forces with the British Red Cross to launch a new three-year programme to deliver essential services to older people who find themselves in need of support to regain their independence.

The new service, called Camau Cadarn (Welsh for ‘Positive Steps’), is due to launch on 1 April 2016 and is funded by the Welsh Government. It will build on the success of our well-established Good Neighbours and community services and the long-standing Red Cross project, Gofal.

We will work together to help older people living in south and west Wales increase in confidence, improve their mental and emotional wellbeing and reduce isolation. This will lead to greater resilience to cope in times of crisis and live independently within the community. It is hoped that the project will be rolled out across Wales by 2017.

"We know that many older people need support post crisis stage to get back on their feet which is why the new funding from the Welsh Government is so welcome. Once the Red Cross has provided the short-term bolster of support needed, our volunteers will help the older person get the best out of life with the aim of integrating them back in their community.

"Our partnership with the Red Cross, which will see the two charities work hand-in-hand, will put the older person first and enable them to receive the best possible care from both organisations."

Sam Ward, director of Wales and West England for Royal Voluntary Service

For the first eight weeks of the programme those benefiting from the service will receive intensive support from Red Cross volunteers who will help to increase confidence, emotional and mental wellbeing. The volunteers will also encourage older people to play a more active role within their community to help them improve their social network and regain their independence.

After the initial eight weeks, those in need of longer-term assistance will be supported by Royal Voluntary Service volunteers. By working in partnership the two charities will ensure that older people who have lost confidence in coping with everyday life have the help they need to become active in their communities once again.

"The new funding from the Welsh Government will allow both charities to continue to make a real difference to thousands of vulnerable people. We believe that we can better support the needs of older people together rather than apart.

"Our experience from the Gofal project shows us that we achieve the best outcomes for older people when we intervene during a specific point of crisis in their lives – such as following a hospital stay or illness. While the Red Cross are able to provide short-term support we recognise that some people may need longer-term help to regain their confidence and independence and become connected to their communities again. Our partnership with Royal Voluntary Service means we can offer a robust and ongoing provision to those who really need it."

Lisa Kenny, operations director for the Red Cross in Wales
The service, which will focus on reaching people over the age of 50 years, needs additional volunteers. Tasks are varied and can include anything from supporting an older person to access community transport or obtain a blue badge, arranging a fire safety test or a falls assessment in the home, or simply offering encouragement to access other services or social activities.

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering charities in Britain powered by more than 25,000 volunteers who regularly provide practical help to over 100,000 older people in their homes, communities and in hospitals.

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

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