Welfare Calls

Welfare calls are a good way to check in with people who may not have internet access or other ways of connecting with people and services.

Last updated:
November 2, 2021
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  • Able to develop personal relationships with each individual
  • Practical, scaleable, and quick to implement
  • No other technology required besides a telephone
  • Regular calls help with feelings of social isolation and practical issues
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  • High cost of phone interpreters
  • Personal relationships developed could create dependency
  • Technical issues with recording notes and maintaining privacy
  • Time intensive depending on how many people you are aiming to support

Suitable for

    • Organisations able to access phone interpreters
    • When volunteers and staff are confident talking via the phone
    • Organisations with contact details of people they want to offer support to


    This wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of Bristol Refugee Rights and West End Refugee Service.

    Welfare calls involve making direct 1-on-1 calls to people to provide social and practical support. Question lists can be used to ensure key issues are addressed. Phone interpreters may be required to aid communication.  

    Staff/volunteers could record case notes for each call which can help reduce duplication for following calls, as well as develop a relationship and produce evidence for monitoring and evaluation. Calls can be increased or decreased over time, depending on the individual's needs. Using volunteers can help to build capacity to reach more people.


    Staff/Volunteer requirements
    • Telephone service (3 way phone system if using interpreters)
    • Phone numbers for those you are offering support to
    • Database for case notes
    • List of questions and areas to talk/ ask people about - key welfare areas (can be updated on google docs) 
    • Phone interpretation service or volunteers
    Participant requirements
    • Telephone
    Staff/Volunteer training
    • Volunteers and staff need training in talking to people over the phone and using interpreters - also how to provide general support to people
    • Must have clear boundaries and policies so that volunteers are prepared and feel confident



    “We’re just so grateful. If it wasn’t for you (all) I really don’t know what we would do, you call and ask how we are and it makes you feel like you matter. You can’t solve all of our problems but just having someone to listen helps.”

    Member of Bristol Refugee Rights

    “It is really good for people to get a call just to say hello, how are you. You feel elated every time you receive that.”

    Member of Bristol Refugee Rights

    "To have this friendship, to be able to talk through this time, to be in touch – it helps you feel you are not alone."

    Call recipient - West End Refugee Service