Welcare Home Safety Scheme

March 2012

We met Chris Price, Development Director for Welcare, a Christian charity working with low income families in London and Southwark offering them a range of practical, supportive schemes when they need a bit of help.

To understand how the government cuts really affect local schemes and ultimately the health and well-being of children, you need to go to a small, cramped office in South London and meet someone like Chris Price.

As Development Director for Welcare – a Christian charity which has been helping and supporting families for over 100 years in London, Chris exudes the enthusiasm and commitment which enables charities like Welcare to work with families who are finding it a bit tough to cope.

I met Chris on an unseasonably, sweltering March day in his cosy office, and he told me about the essential work Welcare does around child accident prevention through the delivery of their home safety scheme.

Home safety scheme

The scheme has been running for 12 years, with Welcare managing it for the last three years, and over this time, they have fitted home safety equipment to 15,000 families, with over 2000 visits in 2010 alone.

Some families receive the equipment for free, depending on their circumstances, and some pay as little as £10 which can be a positive contribution in many ways, giving them ownership of the equipment.

Working in partnership

Working closely with local authorities, children’s centres and other agencies who refer families to them, Welcare assesses the equipment needed for a home and fits it all in one visit.

All families who have the equipment fitted are asked to fill out an evaluation form a few months later with many parents reporting that simple things like cupboard locks and safety gates made a huge difference to their home and ultimately keeping their children safe and free from accidents.

Welcare has run the scheme in two ways – either the council assesses the home and Welcare fits the equipment or Welcare have taken the full responsibility for the assessment and fitting.

The latter approach has proved the most fruitful as it has meant that Welcare can offer their expertise and experience of working out what a family might need for their home.

Reduction in A&E visits

Evaluating projects rigorously to make sure they produce real changes or reductions in accidents to children is important for a lot of our Making the Link users.

As well as anecdotal feedback from families who've received the home safety equipment, Chris also highlights a study that Tower Hamlets PCT did looking at A&E admissions for children before and after Welcare starting delivering the home safety scheme.

The study showed a 4.5% reduction (from April 2010 to March 2011) in children's A&E admissions in Tower Hamlets , a fantastic achievement, and one which Chris says carefully is very likely to be attributed to the home safety scheme. Given that there were no other variables that changed when the scheme was introduced, I'd say that likelihood is almost certain.

End of the road

Sadly, Welcare's home equipment scheme has been wound down and Chris has now left Welcare, as a result of the withdrawal of funding. With nothing planned to take its place, it's hard not to underestimate the effect this could have on future families and children who could benefit from the scheme.

Not only that, but Chris stresses it's not just the fact that families will no longer benefit from the scheme, it also makes it more difficult in a wider sense, to maintain child safety and accident prevention on the policy agenda.

So much evidence and research confirms what people working with children have known for a long time; early intervention is crucial and highly effective in helping children be happier, healthier and safer.

Chris firmly believes that things like Welcare's child safety scheme means families are put in touch with the PCT and local authority at an early stage, which has hugely positive benefits on the welfare of their family and children.

He also makes the point that the investment required for a home safety scheme (around £85,000 to support over 500 families ) is relatively low when compared with the benefits and positive outcomes this can bring to families.

Welcare's child safety scheme is a great example of working in partnership with local agencies and providing practical, straightforward help to families and children.

More information

If you'd like any more information on the child safety scheme please email Chris Price at:

If you'd like more information on the other work Welcare does with families email:

Updated February 2014