Mobile/Community Warden Scheme toolkit
This toolkit is designed to provide advice and support to anyone wishing to set up a Mobile/Community Warden Scheme in South Cambridgeshire. Information provided on this page is also useful for existing schemes who may wish to expand or look for further funding.
Understanding of the needs of older people in your community
This is important before you set up a scheme. You will need to work out whether a Community Warden Scheme is needed in your local area and whether it would be successful.
Every community is different so within a parish or wider area it is important to find out if there are any other groups which match what your group wants to do. If so, can you work in partnership with them? For example, good neighbour schemes, community groups, timebanks and Men’s Shed initiatives.
You could survey residents to determine need and you should also consider what local projects, groups and community initiatives already exist in your community. Talk to them about how a warden scheme could complement and add value to the great work they do. We have produced some useful guidance on how to engage your community.
You can also learn more about your community from the Parish and Ward Profiles on Cambridgeshire Insight.
If your parish is neighbouring a parish that already has a Scheme, you may wish to consider approaching them to see if they would consider expanding. Contact details of other schemes can be found on our Mobile Warden Scheme page.
Operating a Mobile Warden Scheme
There are 4 different models used locally for operating a Mobile Warden Scheme.
- A local charity is set up run by volunteers to engage/employ the Warden and undertake the management of the scheme. Guidance to help you set up and run your charity can be found on the Government’s Charity Commission guidance webpage.
- The Parish Council employs/ engages the warden and manages the scheme- section 112 of the Local Government Act (LGA) 1972 provides the discretionary power to do this. Further advice can be obtained from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils (CAPALC) by emailing email@example.com
- Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough employs the warden and manages the scheme with the support of the Parish Council and a committee of local residents.
- Self- employed contractors- where Wardens are only paid for the work they deliver to the service user and for administering the operation of the scheme. They do not receive holiday or sick pay or National Insurance as they are operationally self-managed.
Setting up an Independent Scheme
If you are interested in setting up an Independent Scheme, the following information will provide you with important points that should be considered:
- Good governance is key for a successful scheme
- A scheme should be run using basic business principles
- A committee will need to be set up- this is made up of unpaid volunteers during the planning stages. It is then vital to have people with the right experience and skills when considering who to engage in key positions-for example those with knowledge of financial management and planning, marketing and HR skills
- Once evidence of need for a warden scheme is established, the committee will be responsible for deciding on policy and management practice (including training), creating a constitution, and developing rules, aims and procedures, marketing and promoting the scheme; employing the warden; collecting data and overseeing the client charges and seeking other sources of funding for the scheme
- Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service are able to provide help with the setting up of a management committee or steering group. Please call 01223 464696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information
It is worth considering where to hold meetings prior to starting any community group. General meetings help bring group members together and can encourage other members of the community to get involved. Many groups use local village halls and community centres [PDF, 0.2MB]. These are often at the heart of the community and can be rented cheaply.
An agenda is simply a list of the things you want to discuss in your meeting. As well as helping you plan, it is a useful way of making sure you cover everything you need to at the meeting. A clear agenda, with timings, really helps when you are chairing.
Timing is important to the success of the meeting. Disorganised and unexpectedly long meetings can be a frustrating experience and put people off coming back. Productive meetings of 2 hours or less can be an experience which builds morale and strengthens your organisation.
Opening a bank account
You will need a bank account. This acts as a useful central area for funds and legitimises your group to funding foundations and organisations. High street banks offer specialist not-for-profit bank accounts as well as other ethical accounts.
You will need to identify at least 2 people who will be signatories. Most banks may ask to see your constitution or minutes from your group meeting when you agreed to open a bank account.
Insurance and Policies
It is important to have adequate insurance in place for your project and it shows that you act responsibly to cover your group, people, and the wider community. Public liability and employee and volunteer insurance are recommended.
Policies should include:
- Complaints handling
- Conflicting interests
- Paying staff
- Risk management
- Safeguarding vulnerable people
- Volunteer management
- GDPR and privacy notices
Recruiting Wardens and Volunteers
You will need to hire one or more paid community warden(s) to meet the needs of clients or buy into the services of one working in another scheme.
This line of work attracts people who have worked, or are interested, in health care, wellbeing and older and vulnerable people. It also offers an opportunity to work in a place individuals know well, or where they live. Those with a caring nature, who can chat confidently, have initiative, the right availability, are flexible and not in need of a guaranteed or immediate income are more suited to the role. Candidates often come from a range of different professional fields and do not necessarily need to come from a ‘care’ background.
Most wardens are employed on a part time basis and will need to be recruited and managed by either the Parish/Town council or management committee.
When recruiting, it is worth considering advertising in local newspapers (although this can be expensive), on social media and within the paid voluntary and community sectors. However, word of mouth can often be more effective.
Wardens spend, on average, 6-7 hours a month with each client so, it is vital that wardens are trusted by the clients and their carers, and that the wardens treat their interactions with clients confidentially (barring the sharing of any safeguarding concerns, in line with your policy). Getting satisfactory references is an important way of reducing risk.
Wardens work with their committee or board to review client needs and the services they offer.
CCVS offer a useful guide to finding volunteers.
Outgoing costs will include the following:
- Warden’s salary (including on costs such as pension, NI contributions and holiday and sick pay)
- Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks
- Training (for example, safeguarding, dementia act, lifting)
- Travel costs
- Safety equipment e.g., PPE
- Communications e.g., laptop, warden mobile phone, community phone, ICT, postage
- Promotion e.g., Scheme launch promotion, leaflets, webpage development
- Activities e.g., social events, lunch clubs
- Volunteer costs e.g., travel, ID badges, training
How to generate funds
An established scheme supporting 15 clients would expect to generate income of approx. £4,000- £5000 per year in client fees. Client fees vary but based on current charges, these range from £20 to £40 a month.
- Warden schemes rely on client fees and external funding to sustain them. Funding may be available from a variety of sources such as your Town or Parish Council, SCDC, Cambridgeshire County Council, local businesses, trusts, charities, foundations, gifts, bequests, and legacies. To obtain a list of businesses in your parish please email Openforbusiness@scambs.gov.uk.
- Details of funding provided by SCDC can be found on the Mobile Warden Scheme webpage. Grants are administered on a three-year cycle. The current cycle runs from April 2021 until March 2024. Additional funding will also be provided for new and existing schemes to cover the period from April 2024 until March 2025. This page will be updated with further details in due course.
- Support Cambridgeshire provides details of external funding opportunities. The SCDC grants officer can also offer advice on other sources of funding that may currently be available. Please email email@example.com for Officer support.
Attendance at local events can also generate donations.
Attracting new clients
Your advertising or marketing depends on the type of people you want to attract. It is important to consider the age of your potential clients. First engagement with clients is important in order to achieve the best outcomes.
A few questions to consider:
- Is it worth contacting groups and associations in your parish who may benefit from a scheme e.g., lunch clubs?
- Is it worth contacting organisations that provide a service to older people and the elderly in your parish? e.g., Meals on Wheels, day centres, walking and exercise groups
- Could you attend local events to talk to potential clients?
- Can you engage with family members of potential clients?
- Would you like potential clients to call, email or attend one of your meetings?
- Are potential clients active online? If so, the following could be useful to help:
- Are you able to provide traditional advertising methods such as distributing leaflets, flyers, brochures and speak with the local press?
- Could you provide posters to display in various locations such as pharmacies, post offices, GP surgeries, village notice boards, churches, and community buildings?
- Can you engage with organisations who can make referrals? Examples include:
- Local libraries including mobile libraries
- GP Practices
- Local Hospitals
- Social Prescribers – these are attached to GP surgeries and can signpost patients to local, non-clinical groups and support services
- Local Charities
- Visiting Support Service
- Community Lifeline Service
- Cambridgeshire Handyperson Service
Building up relationships with clinicians and practitioners to make the case about how your scheme can work alongside, and with, primary care is very useful. Attendance at multiagency meetings is a good way to promote the schemes.
We actively promote schemes through parish e-bulletins, social media and the SCDC magazine. We can also add your Scheme to a leaflet which details all Schemes currently operating in the district.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy or to be added to the leaflet.
It is recommended the Warden attends the following courses:
- first aid
- mental capacity act (MCA) and deprivation of liberties (DOL’s) (often delivered together)
- modern slavery
- medication courses
SCDC will fund MCA and Safeguarding Training. Please contact us for further details.
Workshops and networking opportunities
SCDC recognises the benefits in sharing good practise and networking with other Schemes in the district. Regular workshops, hosted by SCDC will be held throughout the year.
It is important to collect monitoring information. While data collection varies from Scheme to Scheme, all collect some information about the number of clients being supported, marketing and promotional work undertaken, funding and fundraising, and case studies. Please contact us if you would like to be emailed a template to record this information.
Although SCDC is not responsible for your data collection, we would suggest visiting the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) where you can find lots of information about data protection and what you need to do if you are collecting, storing and using information about individuals.
What risks do Mobile Warden Schemes face?
Aside from obvious risks including injury to members and the public, loss of money and information and fraudulent activity, schemes need to be wary of the dangers of cybercrime. It is also worth checking your insurance covers these risks.
Please also ensure you obtain satisfactory references when recruiting wardens to reduce risk.