accessibility & help

Village Wardens scheme helps older people remain independent and saves local authority up to £250,000 a year

5 February 2013

For immediate release  Tuesday, February 5, 2013
For further information  Rebecca McIlhone rmcilhone@redcross.org.uk
Contact number  0117 3012624 07525 128297

A Herefordshire pensioner has thanked the British Red Cross Village Wardens scheme for helping her remain independent in her own home.

Anne Pitt, 74, from Ewys Harold, Herefordshire, was becoming increasingly housebound because of mobility problems when she met her local village warden. The scheme at first helped her to arrange for a ramp to be installed so she could access her beloved garden in her wheelchair. Since then her village warden has helped her improve safety in her home and organised regular visits from carers. All these things have contributed to Anne being much safer and happier in her own home, while retaining her treasured independence.

The Herefordshire Red Cross village wardens are embedded in their local communities, offering a range of practical and emotional support services for vulnerable people, including;

> practical help in the home, including to avoid slips and trips;
> support to manage finances;
> transport and escort to medical appointments and social occasions;
> advice, information and signposting to other organisations that can help.

Each year the service helps around 500 people and a recent report by business analysis firm Deloitte showed a potential saving to Herefordshire Council of £250,000 a year.

Anne’s local Village Warden is Sue Williams who lives in a neighbouring village of Rowlestone. When Anne fell ill last year and was bedridden for two weeks, Sue made regular visits and helped Anne put on support stockings she needs to wear because of Edema of the legs.

When Anne started to recover Sue made longer term arrangements for Abbey Care to visit four times a week and also for a hot meal to be delivered to Anne once a week to give her and her daughter a break from cooking. Sue arranged for an occupational therapist to visit and Anne now has a grab rail in the shower and perching stool in the kitchen. She says: “Sue has been marvellous, absolutely marvellous. I’m getting the support I need now. I wouldn’t have got it on my own, I wouldn’t have known what to do and it’s all thanks to Sue.”

Village warden Sue Williams says: “I guess my role is to identify people in the village that need help. I go and see them, see what their needs are and then as a result of the assessment I can put things in place. Sometimes they’re lonely and I can put in place a volunteer that can pop in and visit them on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes the person doesn’t need very much at the time but they’ve got my number and they might call me in the future, should the need arise.”

The Deloitte report, published in November last year, used the Village Wardens scheme as a case study and said Local Authority commissioners receive savings of around £350 per user - almost 2.8 times the value of their investment.

If you would like to find out more about the Village Wardens scheme, please call 01432 373020 or visit redcross.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors

Photograph of Anne and Sue are available on request.

A report produced for the Red Cross by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, concluded that preventative support services – such as home from hospital schemes, and care in the home – save taxpayers millions of pounds in reduced health costs, as well as providing vital support to people in their own communities.

The analysis looked at six different British Red Cross schemes, including the Herefordshire Village Wardens, and found on average they offered a return on investment of 149% for commissioners – sometimes up to 280% - by preventing hospital stays, reducing levels of readmission, and minimising the need for expensive residential care.

Deloitte estimated that across England and Wales the British Red Cross’s services alone had the potential to save the NHS and social care up to £8million. The British Red Cross has 30 years of experience running health and social care services and reaches 400,000 people each year.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Follow us on Twitter: @BRC_West

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