Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home > About us > News > News archive > 2010 > Could you help someone in crisis to take the next step to independence?

Could you help someone in crisis to take the next step to independence?

02 March 2010

A British Red Cross service enabling people to regain their independence and confidence in the immediate discharge from hospital is appealing for volunteers. Could you help?

The British Red Cross needs your help to enable vulnerable people to get back on their feet

A British Red Cross service enabling people to regain their independence and confidence in the immediate discharge from hospital is appealing for volunteers. Could you help?

The new partnership scheme, Next Steps, set up between the Red Cross and NHS Kensington and Chelsea (Primary Care Trust) at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, needs volunteers to support vulnerable people in the immediate post-discharge period from the hospital’s A&E Department and Acute Medical Unit (AMU).

As a volunteer you will play a vital role in enabling patients to return to and settle back into their homes within the first 48 hours of discharge only, revisiting them to informally assess their condition and needs, and signpost to relevant services where appropriate.

Project officer Mareen Gehlich-Shillabeer from the British Red Cross explained: “Next Steps aims to assist and support patients to return home after emergency care, which can often be a traumatic experience for some. Next Steps volunteers will be able to support patients returning home, helping to reduce the trauma and improve health and wellbeing during this process. The service will enable patients to leave hospital as soon they are declared medically fit.

“By providing practical assistance, befriending and support, as well as assisting with access to relevant services, Next Steps offers a client-centred rather than task-orientated approach to care.”

Charlotte Mackenzie Crooks, Volunteer Services Manager at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: “Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has an excellent record for its high standards of care and volunteers already play a key role in helping provide that caring approach.

"The hard work and dedication of our hospital volunteers is appreciated by staff, patients and visitors alike. We are delighted to be joining forces with the Red Cross to help extend that care beyond our doors and out into the community.”

If you like spending time with others and have a few spare hours each week, you could make a huge difference to someone's life during a difficult period.

We are looking for people who have good interpersonal, communication and empathetic skills as well as someone who is an active listener and can respond sensitively to people’s needs and concerns. We will provide full training and support for the role.

Mareen added: “Without volunteers we would never be able to give people the help they need in a crisis. Because we offer so many services across the UK, we depend on people who generously give up their time to help others.”

Could you help? For details about volunteering for the service, please telephone volunteer coordinator Sue Crawford on 020 8971 8346 or email SCrawford@redcross.org.uk.