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Telephone Befriending Scheme

Summary

Description

Operational Information

Evaluation

More Info

Summary

Telephone Befriending Scheme (TBS) is a service that gives advice and reassurance by phone to mostly older carers who have demanding caring roles. It is supported by the Leicestershire County Council. The scheme is run by volunteer operators (often carers themselves) who provide signposting to other services offered by the local authority; all volunteers are equipped with useful telephone numbers and contact details of Carers Project Workers and other key members of staff. It has been approved as a mentoring scheme via the nationally recognised quality assurance body.

Now TBS is part of a program for elders from Age Uk, a Group of Charities working for improving later life for everyone by providing life-enhancing services and vital support (http://www.ageuk.org.uk/about-us/).

It has a dedicated team of multi-ethnic bilingual volunteers: currently telephone befriending is provided in Gujarati and Hindi.

TBS is an example of how a simple ICT device as the telephone could become a useful tool for helping carers. The coordinators are seeking other opportunities for adding different types of ICTs requiring personal computer and other devices.

There is no impact assessment.

Description
refers to the target users, kind of service provided, ICTs typologies and devices used

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Telephone Befriending Scheme
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UK
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2008
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This service aims at providing support to carers and helping them access information, support and guidance, in order to combat social isolation.

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It originated as a pilot scheme funded through the council’s Carers Grant allocation, but has by now been ‘mainstreamed’ and is resourced using its main social care budget. It was developed to meet the needs of carers in the region which requires help, advice and reassurance relating to any social care issue.

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Yes Care Recipients
Yes Informal carers
No Paid assistants
No Formal carers

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Not available

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No Independent Living
Yes Information and learning for carers
Yes Personal Support and Social Integration for carer
Yes Care coordination

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A staff of volunteers gives information and advice on care related items, providing signposting to other services offered by the local authority.

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The only device required to be reached by the service is the telephone.

Operational Information
refers to the type of funding, budget, sustainability and organisations involved

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Both public and private
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Public service funding: Government, Regional, Local Authorities, non-profit public entities
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Leicestershire County Council funded the two years long pilot phase.

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Non-profit funding: charity, volunteers organisations, NGO
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Age Uk Group


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Not applicable

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The initiative is run by volunteers and does not require expensive devices and installation, furthermore it is sustained by the Age UK Group that organizes many fund raising activities.

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Not available

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Yes Authorities
No Private Care Sector
Yes Health and Social Care Systems
Yes Third Sector
No Private Companies

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Not available

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he service is currently hosted and promoted by Age UK, a group of charities.
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Yes Informal Carers
Yes Health Professionals
Yes Social Care Professionals
Yes Privately-Hired Care Assistants (inc. Migrant Care Workers)
Yes Volunteers

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The service works on a voluntary basis. The professionals involved are retired persons formerly working in the field of social and health services.

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The volunteers play a pivotal role because they are the operators.

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Not available

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The service is promoted and publicized through a range of local activities (such as those linked to ‘Carers Rights Day’41) and through voluntary organisations and public venues using leaflets and posters.


Evaluation
refers to the impact of the service on end-users, care organisations and authorities

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Not available

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Strengths

  1. The service does not require installation.
  2. The service is user friendly and simple: it does not require any type of training because it is based on the telephone use.

Weaknesses

  1. The lack of impact assessment.

Opportunities

  1. This telephone service is one of numerous services provided by Age UK and is well connected with other initiatives.

Threats/challenges

  1. More funding would be necessary to explore additional ICT based initiatives, and share knowledge about its possibilities

  2. The project manager has the willingness to expand the service to immigrant carers but volunteers who speak different languages are needed.

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Recently Leicestershire County Council has been considering expanding the scheme to reach out and engage carers speaking other languages, although it is thought additional funding will be needed for this, as difficulties are anticipated in identifying volunteers who speak different languages.

More Information
includes contacts, publications and accompanying documents

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Publications

Yeandle S. and Fry G., The potential of ICT in supporting domiciliary Care in England, JRC, European Commission, IPTS, 2010

AgeUk, available at http://www.ageuk.org.uk/leics/our-services/befriending-scheme/

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For more info: 0044 0116 222 0555.

Louise Scott (NW Leicestershire)

Phone:

0044 01530 833000

Email:

louise.scott@ageukleics.org.uk

Sue Bamber (Rutland)

Phone:

0044 01572 770324

Email:

sue.bamber@ageukleics.org.uk