Innovative support service is ‘making a difference’ to community

Glynis Donovan from Redbridge carers support service who is part of the Redbridge First Repsonse Ser

Glynis Donovan from Redbridge carers support service who is part of the Redbridge First Repsonse Service (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson

An innovative scheme bringing together the emergency services, voluntary groups and other support services has been praised a year after it was introduced.

The Redbridge First Response Service (ReFRS) is a multi-agency partnership scheme working together to provide easy access to services supporting the wellbeing, safety, and independence of residents.

After launching in December last year, the service was hailed at the national Compact Awards, which celebrates cross-partnership working, receiving the innovation award.

Dev Sharma, cabinet member for adult care and older people, said: “I am delighted that this service has gained recognition by winning this prestigious award.

“The Compact Awards recognise those who are making a difference in their communities by working in partnership across different sectors. This year there were more nominations than ever before.”

ReFRS provides a single point of access to a whole range of services, including health and social care support.

A staff member from any partner organisation completes a checklist to identify what support is needed.

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The completed list is then sent to ReFRS, which makes the necessary referrals.

Information includes fall assessments, installing smoke alarms, security advice, housing repairs, support for victims of abuse and crime, social activities, befriending services and exercise groups.

Glynis Donovan, director of Redbridge Carers Support Service, said the service had made a tangible difference to carers in the borough.

“It’s an excellent service – we never used to get referrals from the police or the fire brigade. That’s changed since the first response scheme was set up.

“It’s a really joined up scheme where both the statutory and voluntary sector in Redbridge refer to each other.

“We are actually talking to each other a lot more than we did.”

She said the service had seen a “dramatic increase” in the number of people referred for help.

Between December 2013 and May 2014, 263 people were referred to ReFRS.

By May 2014, GP referrals were the highest (53 per cent) and the second highest was the Met Police (15 per cent).

For further information email or telephone 020 8708 5135.