Rally Round can help lots of different people

real life stories, people shopping

Rally Round can help…

  • Sons or daughters worried about ageing parents
  • Communities or neighbourhoods looking to support each other in a crisis
  • People coping with a long term condition – Depression, Stroke, COPD, Cancer, MS or Dementia
  • People recovering from an illness or operation
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What people say about Rally Round

real life story, families

The Brookes family

“Mum really wants to stay at home but we’re at the point where I can’t support her without more help.”

I’m the eldest of four children, however for the last couple of years my husband Alex and I have been doing most of the caring for my mum, Lucia, who has moderate dementia. We’ve managed up till now on our own but as her health gets worse it’s clear to me we need more help from others if we are to keep her at home.

When I found out about Rally Round I created a network and started by inviting my three brothers and Alex to join me in mum’s network. My brothers had no idea how much help mum needed, but Rally Round has given me a good way of letting them know, without causing embarrassment to mum or offence to my brothers. 

All 3 of them now regularly volunteer to help out, especially with bigger jobs like carpet cleaning, levelling the garden path, taking her out to places and fetching shopping. 

Now we’ve got the hang of it we’ve all just agreed to invite a couple of mum’s friends into the network as well. We’re hoping that instead of just turning up out of the blue they’ll be able to see when mum wants some company and be better able to fit in with her needs. 

Our Rally Round network has really helped us get organised and mum loves the fact that she now sees more of her sons. It’s also brought the family closer together and removed quite a lot of the underlying stress. 

As a bonus, Alex and I have realised Rally Round will make it much easier for us to go away on holiday. We haven’t been comfortable leaving mum for more than a couple of days, but now we can make sure people are in place to help out before we leave and also check up on how things are going while we are away. 

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Bunton West Neighbourhood

“I started this with friends from the Choir as we were looking to find a way to help each other during the COVID-19 crisis and this looked like it might be useful. Most of our members are older and quite a few, it turns out, are having to self-isolate as they have various underlying health challenges.”

Once we had the network up and running people naturally wanted to add other people they knew who also needed help. We set up a quick vetting system where 3 people had to agree before I invited them in. So quite quickly it’s turned into a support group for anyone living in the neighbourhood. Quite a lot of people say they don’t need help themselves but are happy to help others.

At the moment its mostly about arranging shopping but I’m sure quite soon it’ll expand into other activities. In fact yesterday a member asked if anyone could walk their dog as they were feeling unwell. My big challenge at the moment is encouraging people to ask for help. We are all a bit too reserved about this. So I’ve started calling people i know might need help and asking them what they need, then I post it on the Jobs Board for others to see and volunteer to do.

Maybe we’ll keep using Rally Round after COVID-19. It’ll be interesting to see if this experience has a lasting impact on how we view our local communities.

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real life stories, MS


The diagnosis of MS scared me at first. I like to feel I’m in control of my life and I felt now I might not be.

I’ve always tried to taken good care of myself and been fairly healthy. I work full-time and have a great circle of friends around me. I also have two grown up daughters, that I’m really proud of and close to. Everything was great, until the tiredness and aching started. After a stream of trips to doctors and hospitals, tests and more tests I was told I had MS.

I’ve always liked to feel in control of my life and i worried that as my illness progressed this would be harder to maintain. I thought people might start to see me solely as ‘somebody who needs help’ and a bit of a ‘burden’.

So I spent a lot of time on the Internet, researching my condition and looking at support options for the time when I might need them. This was how I stumbled across Rally Round. It was almost as though someone had looked at my situation and my life and built a service just for me.

It was simple to use. I created a network and initially I started small, using the status update to tell people how I am each day – saving countless anxious phone calls! At the moment I don’t need to ask for much help but I know, that as my MS progresses I’ll need more help on a regular basis and my Rally Round helpers will be there for me.

The best thing is that I feel more in control again and knowing that I have a friendly network in place just in case I need help has really lifted my confidence.


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real life stories, parent carers

Nina and Emma

“Looking after a disabled child is hard especially with other kids. I really needed help from friends.”

Emma was born with Cerebral Palsy and her condition came as a complete shock to me. My husband John is a farmer so he works all hours and I’m left alone a lot to look after Emma and my two other elder children Jessica and Jason.  John is part of a big family so there are often lots of people coming and going but I don’t want them thinking I can’t cope.

I realised that the main thing I wanted was to find some more time in my week so I could get out and about more with the kids,  going swimming, going to the park or Emma’s favourite, visiting the zoo.

My local Carers’ Centre was great. They were trying out a new service called Rally Round and they asked me if I wanted to give it a go. I would do anything to thank them for their help so I said yes, feeling it was more of a favour to them than it was going to be a help to me.

Sally at the Carers Centre suggested I create a network, inviting a few other mums from the area that I knew through playgroup, plus John’s family and a couple of friends from school who still kept in touch. I started by asking if anyone wanted to come with me and the kids on our days out. Saying where and when we were going, and asking if anyone was free to join us. I was blown away – somebody was always free and they seemed genuinely pleased to have the chance to come along.

Emma has no speech, limited movement and cannot eat or drink unaided so she really needs my undivided attention when we go out. Having a friend along for the ride means Jess and Jase get to have fun too and often have extra playmates thrown in. I love Rally Round.

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real life stories, elderly couple

Frank and Audrey

“I was worried that if I became ill I’d have to go into hospital and Audrey would have to go into a home.”

Audrey and I have been married for 62 years. We’ve always been together. Audrey’s health has been getting steadily worse these past five years but I’m more than happy to look after her. I’ve always tried to do that.

I was a bit poorly in January last year and it was touch and go whether I went to A&E. I didn’t go in the end, but it made me realise that I really needed to take care of myself. If anything happened to me, Audrey would probably have to go into a home and I know she’d hate that.

I realised I needed more help, but the thought of asking our daughter Joan and her family or even some of my old army mates to help was really difficult. I guess I’m quite a proud old man. I don’t know how, but one day I plucked up some courage and asked Joan to ring the Council to see if they could help.

They put me in touch with the Carer’s Centre and told Joan about Rally Round. She got an email with all the information on it about how to get started. Joan started a network for me and although I needed a bit of help from her in the beginning, it didn’t take me too long to learn how to put up the first job.

At first it didn’t feel quite right because everyone has such busy lives. But now I realise that people are more than happy to do their bit and I really like the fact that I don’t have to pick someone in advance to ask.

I’ve asked people to help with gardening, shopping, lifts to appointments and even ironing as I was just too tired to do it. Last week I asked people to visit us as the cold wether made it really difficult to get out.

I’m not sure how long Audrey and I can stay living in this house together, but it definitely feels a bit easier now we’re using Rally Round.

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