FILT partnership helps more people to live healthier, more independent lives

A partnership project supporting people over the age of 50 in St Helens to lead healthier, more independent lives in their own homes is celebrating its first anniversary.

The home support service is a lottery-funded partnership made up of our charity Foundations Independent Living Trust, the British Red Cross and the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The service has supported nearly 150 people in its first 12 months.

It offers practical and emotional support to people and has been designed to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions, and reduce pressure on local healthcare services.

Judith Ward, independent living service manager for the British Red Cross in St Helens, said: “Our volunteers offer practical and emotional support to people in their homes for up to 6 weeks. They help people by lending mobility equipment, supporting them to lead healthier lifestyles and to meet new people.

“We can also provide advice on adaptations, making homes warmer, hand and shoulder massages, and we can support people to develop personal health plans or accompany them to go shopping.

“Local young people play a vital role in the partnership. We ask users to place a card in their window every morning. But if pupils do not see it on their way to school, they inform a member of staff who alerts health or social care staff.”

Jean's story

86-year-old Jean Bone is unable to leave her home because of a range of medical conditions.

Staff from the partnership ring her each morning to check she is safe and well. They also visit her in person and have helped her to apply for mobility aids.

Jean said: “They do everything, I only need to phone them if I need advice or anything.  

They helped me get a trolley to eat my dinner from and that’s been wonderful.

The visits make a big difference in my life – I don’t feel as lonely.”

Tom Glynn is one of the members of staff who supports Jean. He arranged for her to be present at a Red Cross coffee morning via Skype.  The coffee morning was organised by pupils from Wargrave Primary School who enjoyed chatting to Jean on the computer and ensuring she was part of the event.

Tom said: “Jean is a very independent person. She is able to play an active role in her local community thanks to her computer and Skype.”

To find out more about the support at home service, ring 01925 295614 or email shsupport@redcross.org.uk