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What we are doing

First Call Support at Home offers emotional and practical support specifically for those being discharged from hospital or experiencing a crisis at home and needing support as they await hospital admission.

The support is offered at differing levels (four tiers), and within 24 hours of contact.

Volunteers work closely with older people, offering positive encouragement, and practical and emotional support over days, weeks or even longer, depending on the individual’s needs.

What we are learning

The British Red Cross Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund evaluation, conducted by Sheffield Hallam University, found that:

  • British Red Cross successfully established staff teams to deliver First Call in Leicester City and in Rutland and launched the service in both locations in early 2015.
  • In the early months of First Call in Leicester City and Rutland, staff focused on marketing the service and recruiting volunteers. Staff also worked with service users during this time, while volunteers were recruited and trained.
  • A total of 902 referrals were recorded as First Call clients between February 2015 and May 2016.  This included 515 people who contacted the BRC administration team or another BRC service and received information, advice and signposting about support at home services; 117 people who received information, advice and signposting about support at home services directly from a First Call worker; and 270 people who received more intensive support and assistance, including home visits, from First Call workers.
  • 270 service users received a home visit from First Call in the two locations.
  • A support plan was developed for each service user with more intensive needs, which included up to three goals that the service user wanted to achieve through engagement with First Call. In total, 202 service users set goals.
  • The support provided by First Call included one-off advice and information, through to befriending, emotional support and practical help, for example, with paperwork and with shopping

Our ambitions to grow through Accelerating Ideas 

The British Red Cross’ ambition is to scale the First Call Support at Home model UK wide to include a minimum of 11 areas by 2020, with the potential to include areas in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales.

  • Each of the four services proposed in this plan will support between 175 and 250 service users with tier 3 and 4 support and a minimum of 200 service users with tier 1 and 2 support in the first year. In year two, our ambition will be to reach between 200-300 service users with tier 3 and 4 support and 250 service users with tier 1 and 2 support.
  • The four services included in this plan will reach between 1,500 and 2,220 service users to receive tier 3 and 4 support, and 1,800 service users to receive tier 1 and 2 support.

Each service will be supported by a minimum of 20 to 30 volunteers – as a mix of existing and new volunteers - which means that we could potentially have 92 to 138 new and existing volunteers in 2019.