3 April 2012
For immediate release Tuesday 03 April, 2012
For further information Samantha Whitwham SWhitwham@redcross.org.uk
Contact number 0117 301 2624 or 07525 128297
The British Red Cross is looking for compassionate volunteers to provide practical and emotional support to vulnerable people across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
The charity offers short-term care and support in the home for people after a stay in hospital, giving them the confidence and independence to continue their daily lives. The services are commissioned by NHS Bristol and NHS South Gloucestershire.
One person to benefit from visits by a Red Cross volunteer is Pamela Wilson from Stoke Gifford who was referred by her GP.
“I suffered a heart attack just before Christmas and spent four days in hospital”, explained Pamela. “When I came home my doctor thought I could use a little more help around the house while I regained my strength and he gave me the number for the Red Cross. I gave them a call and they told me Annette would visit me that Friday.”
Annette Sidders, 30 from Bradley Stoke, was inspired to become a Red Cross volunteer after she noticed a poster in her doctor’s surgery advertising the home from hospital service.
“I was taking my Grandmother to a doctor’s appointment and saw the poster in the waiting room asking if anyone could spare a couple of hours a week. I thought about my own Grandma and what would happen if she didn’t have anyone to help her. Two hours a week isn’t much to ask to help someone and I thought it would be a nice thing to do.”
Annette began visiting Pamela in her home doing light domestic work, such as vacuuming and dusting and providing companionship and general emotional support while she recuperated.
Pamela said: “The nicest thing about Annette’s visits was that she spoke to me as though I mattered. That means a great deal when you’re not well and I was very touched by that. We ended up talking nineteen to the dozen and she’s such a good listener. It was lovely to have someone young to talk to.
“She’s been an absolute brick and it was reassuring to know that Annette would be stopping by. I don’t know what I would have done without her and what’s amazing is that she gives up her own time to help me. It’s a wonderful service that the Red Cross provide because someone is there just when you need them the most.”
Annette is encouraging others to get involved with the Red Cross service. “It’s so satisfying being a Red Cross volunteer and I would recommend anyone to join this service.
“The most enjoyable aspect is helping people and the people you help truly appreciate the support you give them.”
Kathryn Hudson, associate director of commissioning development and joint commissioning at NHS South Gloucestershire, said: "Red Cross volunteers, like Annette, provide an incredibly valuable service to patients coming home after a short stay in hospital. By offering companionship, support and help with practical tasks like shopping or collecting prescriptions, volunteers can help rebuild a patient's confidence and independence and help prevent them from being readmitted to hospital."
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, light domestic support, companionship and also providing emotional support whilst helping to rebuild confidence.
The service is free of charge and provides support on a short-term basis for up to six weeks. Referrals come from hospital staff, GPs, primary care trusts, and other health care providers. The Red Cross is specifically looking for volunteers from the BS9, BS30, BS35, BS37, BS34 areas of Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
To find out more, please contact Karen Skeats, health and social care service co-ordinator on 0117 955 0213 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Red Cross health and social care services, visit redcross.org.uk/health-and-social-care
Notes to editors
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
Download our free first aid app: www.redcross.org.uk/app