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Overhauling VOCAL’s first contact with new service users involved rethinking the process as well as the content and format.

VOCAL: welcome pack redesign

Patrick redesigned VOCAL’s welcome pack for carers to provide a more accessible resource which was relevant to their personal caring role. He introduced the use of print on demand to reduce cost and paper wastage, and to tailor the pack to specific geographical areas. The use of print on demand was particularly important during the COVID pandemic as new carers continued to receive resources without interruption or delay.

Patrick improved the visual appeal of the welcome pack through a complete redesign, and worked with a number of stakeholders to write and edit new content. The result was a personalised resource which is highly valued by new carers accessing support from VOCAL for the first time.

- Rosemary McLaughlin, Deputy CEO

VOCAL's welcome pack cover showing Edinburgh variant imagery An example interior page VOCAL's welcome pack showing Midlothian variant imagery and text

the problem

VOCAL supports unpaid carers in Edinburgh and Midlothian. Caring covers a vast range of situations and responsibilities, with each caring situation as unique as the individual carer.

Since opening in the mid 90s, VOCAL had been sending new carers an information pack when they registered. These packs were expensive to produce, in materials, postage and staff and volunteer hours. Worse, feedback showed they were almost never read – the large A4 folders of densely printed sheets were daunting and inaccessible to the charity's time-strapped audience.

the solution

Consulting closely with stakeholders across the charity two core functions of sending a mailing to new service users became clear: giving a tangible reminder that the charity was there to support them; and offering a menu of what support was available.

To better meet these key needs I designed a completely new process for welcoming new carers, with the following benefits

  • Staff were freed to work on other projects as new packs required minimal input
    • New packs were prompted by simple weekly report generated from a widely used internal system
    • This freed valuable Comms Officer time and enhanced resilience as more staff could generate reports if needed
  • Volunteer time was removed from the process entirely freeing many volunteers for other tasks
  • Digitally printing and mailing the packs on demand radically reduced costs and wastage
    • Digital print allowed for personalisation of the packs
    • Personalised print could be built on to target the information sent to carers based on their needs
  • Carers received a compact personalised welcome pack comprising a short booklet with summaries of the support available, and a covering letter.
  • The small approachable booklet can be flipped through over a coffee quickly showing support available
  • Front-line support staff saved time by removing the need to repeatedly outline available services over the phone
  • Packs empowered carers to ask for the support they needed sooner

The new system proved its worth at the beginning of the COVID Pandemic, quickly adapting to changes in staffing, service provision and carers' needs.

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