accessibility & help

Somerset man thankful for the support of the British Red Cross after his home was flooded

For immediate release    Thursday, 2 March 2012
For further information    Samantha Whitwham
Contact number    0117 301 2624 or 07525 128297

The British Red Cross in Somerset is looking for compassionate volunteers to provide practical and emotional support to people who have recently been discharged from hospital, helping them regain their independence.

When Bob May, from Street, slipped and fractured his arm he thought that a short stay in hospital would be the worst of his problems. Unfortunately, when friends stopped by his home they realised things were about to get a lot worse for the 92 year old.

Bob’s home was a scene of utter devastation. Ceilings had collapsed and Bob’s furniture and belongings were all damaged by flood water that reached the window sills.

“I’d lost virtually everything” said Bob. “We managed to save a few pictures that were on the walls, but other than that everything was a write-off.”

While his home was refurbished, Bob was admitted to sheltered housing accommodation. When Bob was finally able to return home 10 months later, he began receiving regular visits from Valerie Collins, a volunteer with the Red Cross home from hospital service, who helped him settle back into his home.

Val said: “I was able to help Bob move his belongings back into his home and set up his new microwave and telephone to make it easier for him to remain independent and keep in contact with his friends and family. I also made sure that there was plenty of food in the cupboards.”

“Val was a great help” said Bob. “She used to stop by a couple of times a week and have a nice chat and do some shopping for me when I needed it. She was very thoughtful and always good company. The service that the Red Cross provided was fantastic and I certainly can’t fault Val. She’s brilliant.”

The Red Cross offers short-term care and support in the home for people after an accident or illness, giving them the confidence to continue their daily lives. This service can be provided following a stay in hospital or to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

Val explained why she enjoys volunteering for the service: “It is so rewarding to see the people you support get their confidence back after a stay away from home. At first it may be that you go out shopping for them, and then they may ask for you to take them shopping, and finally they may say ‘I think I’m ok to go by myself now’.

“It’s wonderful to see that progression of confidence. For me, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

Volunteers need to be compassionate and have a friendly and caring personality. The role requires volunteers to make home visits giving practical support based on individual needs. This could include shopping, collecting prescriptions, companionship and also providing emotional support whilst helping to rebuild confidence.

To find out more, please contact Tracey Miller, home from hospital team leader on 01823 273707 or email:

To find out more about the Red Cross home from hospital service, visit


Notes to editors

For more information on the British Red Cross please visit:

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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