6 Sep 2019
Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service developed the Camau Cadarn Positive Steps (CCPS) programme in order to help people maintain their independence at home. The project draws on the strengths of two different agencies, working in partnership, and provides support for people to manage complex situations that affect their wellbeing, and to engage positively with their communities.
Previous work undertaken by Red Cross with older people who were
lonely and isolated has built up its experience of re engaging
people with their communities. It recognises that its particular
strength lies in working with people who were experiencing some
kind of crisis. When individuals are referred to the
Positive Steps programme, Red Cross staff and volunteers are able
to assess and address issues as required to achieve a measure of
stability and psycho social improvement.
If there is need of further support at this stage (usually after
an 8-12 week period), Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) volunteers are
able to assist in working with individuals for up to a further
period of 12 weeks. Individuals can have multiple needs and
often there are confidence issues. Some people need one to
one support over a considerable period of time in order to access
the ongoing services or networks that can help them.
In this way a 'joined up' pathway of support is provided for
people who fall short of the criteria for accessing statutory
support but who nevertheless are in need of help to re-establish
'The criteria for accessing acute services is tightening due
to the reduced capacity of our statutory services.' said Dave
Worrall, Positive Steps Project Lead, Red Cross Cymru.
'This leaves a gap in provision, where appropriate alternative
assistance is called for'.
What do volunteers do?
Red Cross volunteers work closely with staff, talking with
individuals about what matters to them, offering emotional support
and working with them to draw up and implement a plan of
A service user in Ystradgynlais, for example, was referred
following an emergency operation. Previous life events, including
relationship break up, a fine for minor breaches in his food retail
business and death of two pets had triggered an episode of
depression and he had come to live a reclusive life behind closed
curtains. Self neglect, hoarding and the disrepair of his property
The Red Cross caseworker and volunteer talked with him to set
realistic goals to work towards. They helped him arrange for
someone to come and do some cleaning and laundry twice a week
so that the house would be less cluttered and he would have clean
clothes. They spoke on his behalf with the
doctor's surgery to arrange supplies of incontinence pants on
prescription which had initially been refused and spoke with the
benefits agency requesting a judicial review of his benefit
entitlement, which had recently been reduced.
Care and Repair were contacted to carry out an assessment and
provide equipment to assist with day to day mobility. He was
taken out for the first time in 2 years and was able to get cash
and go to the supermarket. Arrangements were made for him to
attend the local day hospital to provide opportunity for
After 8 weeks of support, the service user's mood had improved, he
was eating some food and he said he felt humbled that someone cared
for him. His benefits were reassessed and previous
entitlements restored. He gained hope in the possibility of
leading a more normal life in the near future.
Royal Voluntary Service received a Positive Steps referral for an
80 year old gentleman who had suffered a stroke. His son made the
referral through concern that his father had not been out and had
lost all his confidence since the stroke. Royal Voluntary Service
matched a volunteer with the gentleman, who met him with him
weekly. She found a local stoke club and suggested that they
attended. After some gentle persuasion and encouragement they
attended the group together. He was grateful for the support to
attend the group and enjoyed it from the first visit.
As the Positive Steps support came to an end the volunteer put
transport arrangements in place which would allow the gentleman to
continue attending the club. The volunteer accompanied him on the
initial trip and now he is confident enough to go to the club
This is an excellent example of how Positive Steps can help to
improve an individual's confidence and reconnect with their
Measuring the impact
The project is being evaluated by Welsh Institute of Health and
Social care and a report is expected to be available in September.
Individuals who have given consent have been contacted six month
after the involvement of Red Cross and RVS ends, in order to gauge
the impact of the project on individuals' lives.
Volunteers recognise the positive impact that their involvement
has and find a sense of satisfaction with the support they are able
Challenges faced and lessons learned
There are challenges that arise from two organisations working in
partnership - differences of culture, different systems, for
example for managing volunteer recruitment, and the coordination of
data in order to be able to report to a number of different
stakeholders. GDPR (General
Data Protection Regulation) has not been a particular problem,
but has been managed in line with requirements.
As to lessons learned: 'volunteers need to be very well trained
and supported in order to help people to face complex and stressful
situations' said Dave Worrall, 'more joint training could be
developed in the future, with in house and external training being
open to volunteers of both organisations.
Steve Amos, Royal Voluntary Service Head of Commissioned Services
Wales says 'Our commitment to the partnership with the Red
Cross at all levels, and our willingness to learn from each other
and the partnership process, is what makes Positive Steps
successful. We are working together to ensure that the older people
we are supporting receive the best possible care from both
'Each partner needs to be able to hold the other to
account' continued Dave Worrall 'Relevant management staff
meet regularly in 14 different locations around Wales, in order to
report, monitor and address issues arising'.
'Positive steps is a model that could be adopted more widely.
Lessons learned from our partnership with RVS will be useful to
others in developing similar pathways of support across more than
Case study by Helpforce Cymru. Helpforce is working with Third
Sector Support Wales (WCVA and 19 CVCs), Welsh Government and other
partners to develop the potential of volunteering to support health
and social care services in Wales,
The Helpforce page on our website includes links
to recent articles, blogs and case studies