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

29 March 2016

The British Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service are joining forces 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 1st April 2016 and is funded by the Welsh Government. It will build on the success of the long-standing Red Cross project, Gofal, and well-established Good Neighbours and community services delivered by Royal Voluntary Service.

The charities 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.

Lisa Kenny, operations director for the Red Cross in Wales, said: “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.”

For the first eight weeks of the programme those benefitting 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 service users 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.

Sam Ward, director of Wales and West England for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “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.”

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.

Dave Worrall, service manager at the Red Cross, explained: “Camau Cadarn is about looking at what the individual needs and exploring how we can help them to make positive changes in their life. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a big difference, such as having someone to talk through their problems with. Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service volunteers will work together to help regain their confidence, improve their wellbeing and ultimately re-establish their independence.”

For more information about Camau Cadarn, contact:

British Red Cross: Dave Worrall, service manager on 01745 828349 or

Royal Voluntary Service: Lesley Thompson, head of support and development, on 07436 800873 or


Notes to editors

About the British Red Cross

  • 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: @RedCrossWales

About Royal Voluntary Service

  • Formerly known as WRVS, Royal Voluntary Service has been helping people in Britain for 75 years. 
  • Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service in 1938, the charity played a crucial role during the Second World War.
  • Whilst keeping the same values of community service, Royal Voluntary Service has now focused its work on helping older people to remain independent and get more out of life.
  • Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest voluntary organisations in Britain with 35,000 men and women helping people in their homes, the community, hospitals and in emergencies.
  • The charity is a founding member of the Campaign to End Loneliness, a partner in the Big Lottery funded project, Shaping our Age, a supporter of the Malnutrition Task Force and a member of the Care and Support Alliance, the Falls and Fractures Alliance, Age Action Alliance and the Dementia Action Alliance.
  • Royal Voluntary Service has Investing in Volunteers status in recognition of its good practice and effective volunteer management.
  • For more information on the Royal Voluntary Service please visit


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