Rally Round – A New Service From The Council

Rally Round is an exciting new service available to everybody living inBradford. It is designed to help individuals stay in their own homes for longer, improve their health and wellbeing, reduce social isolation and limit their need for statutory services It is also designed to support unpaid/informal carers by helping them share their caring ‘load’ with other trusted family members, friends, neighbours, volunteers or paid workers involved in the caring situation. Rally Round is an online service that works on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones to keep you in touch on the go. It is a simple but effective tool that allows those invited into a ‘network’ to create, share, discuss and undertake tasks to help the person/people around whom it is built.

Rally Round can be useful in a number of settings –

Distance caring – if you live a long way from a loved one rally round enables you to help co-ordinate those living closer by and their involvement in the care and support. There are often tasks that can be done at a distance too such as utility supplier switching, online shopping orders or even just keeping in touch regularly

Balancing work and care – if you cannot be available 24/7 and are struggling to keep taking time off to fit in providing transport to regular doctors/dentists/opticians appointments, or making sure medication is taken or food is prepared properly – rally round lets you arrange all these things and more from your office and others can deliver on the ground and let you know they have been done

Coming out of hospital – a stay in hospital can be disorienting for anybody and it can take some time to get back on your feet and in control of everything. Asking those you know and trust to step up and help in those first few weeks is something we can find awkward or make us feel like a burden but through rally round you simply put the tasks into your network and whoever can help, will help. Often many people really want to help out but don’t know how so this works well for them too.

Coming to terms with a new or progressive condition –  a dementia diagnosis, a stroke or even a fall can knock our confidence, make us less likely to do the things we used to or perhaps just leaving the house. Rally round is a great tool to get others involved as much or as little as you want. You can manage your own network, ask people to go along with you shopping or to the exercise group, get help with jobs around the house and as things develop you might find you need it more or less.

Rally Round in your area

Doing the shopping, getting out and about, changing a lightbulb, keeping appointments, tidying the garden, meeting up with friends… things most of us take for granted. If you can’t manage these things yourself, or you’re struggling to find the time do them for someone else, then Rally Round could help you share the load. Friends and family who want to help will feel included and no-one gets too stressed. Carers have commented that they find it easier to ask for help in this way as no-one is being put ‘on the spot’ as it were. It is so easy to use and works on a computer, tablet or phone so you can keep up to date on the go, at work or even on holiday.

It certainly made the festive period be  tter for one couple in Ilkley who told us ‘We asked if anyone would pop by to see us in the Easter holidays and friends from the Church visited on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which meant we were able to share a lovely weekend. We would like to know if you think Rally Round is a service you would use if it were available in this area? Please tell us how you think you could use it and those people nearby who would benefit from using Rally Round.

Short case studies from users:

Service User study

My name is Louise and I’m from Keighley, until 2 years ago I was in full time employment and making the most of life, getting out and enjoying myself. My son and daughter are aged 19 and 22, so I was free to enjoy life.Then I became ill. It wasn’t an overnight struck down illness; it was a gradual loss of ability to do the things I used to find easy. After visiting my GP and attending hospital, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and by this time I was off work and unable to drive. I still wanted to retain the ‘illusion’ of coping with everything and I found it so difficult to ask for help. So although I relied heavily on my two children I only accepted help from other family members and friends occasionally.

A friend introduced me to Rally Round – it was like someone had looked at my life and designed it for me. I asked those family and friends who had previously offered help if I could add them – they all accepted willingly, many of them said to me they just wanted to do something to help. Rally Round has made a huge difference to my life. The service provided has been fantastic and everyone has commented to me on what a good idea it is. People want to feel like they are helping in times of need and this is a perfect way for them to get involved. Having a service like this has been invaluable. It has enabled me to ask for help in what I feel is a more dignified way without feeling embarrassed about asking for help.

Carer case study

Yasmin is 40 with two children, both of whom have disabilities. When introduced to Rally Round by her local Carers’ Centre Yasmin had been off work for several months with depression and things were really starting to get difficult for her. With Yasmin, the Carers Centre created a Rally Round support network with three volunteers invited in as helpers. A few weeks later Yasmin gained the confidence to ask some friends and family members to join as well. She was glad to find that they were all really happy to join and help out. Initially Yasmin had a number of quite big jobs to do, things that had been building up over a large period of time.

Now, 6 months later, Yasmin is helping to do the jobs with her helpers and this has given her a big boost in confidence. Yasmin has made some new friends and takes part in a knit and natter group, offered by the local Carers Centre. Yasmin found out about this from the online Rally Round noticeboard. Through Rally Round, Yasmin has been able to manage better at home and work. Yasmin says “I look forward to people coming to help. The support that people have given me and my family has helped me to find my confidence and have a giggle whilst getting the simple things at home done. I’ve been able to go back to work part-time and this is down to the support I’ve gained from Rally Round.”

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