A friendly face at the door

A friendly face at the door

At the World Mail Awards 2014 Jersey Post’s Call & Check programme won the Corporate Social Responsibility category. Call & Check is a new community care service where Jersey Post staff call and check up on island residents who are either living alone or are isolated.

Special Projects Manager at Jersey Post Joe Dickinson, who came up with the pioneering concept, tells Post & Parcel how the project developed.

“In 2013 Jersey Post staff were asked to come up with ideas for new revenue streams and I came up with the Call & Check concept.

Like nearly every country in the world, Jersey has a rapidly ageing population of 100,000, out of which 15,000 are over 65 years of age.

Over the next 20 years, the amount of people over the age of 65 will double which will put an enormous strain on the health system. I wanted to do something to try and address this problem.

Most health and social service providers around the world have stated the only affordable way forward to care for an ageing population is if they are supported to live in their own homes for as long as possible. At the same time, postal operators are the only service providers that have the ability and infrastructure to visit every house or apartment on a daily basis, if required, so it made sense to me to join up the services. Also bearing in mind that conventional letter post has been in steady decline for a number of years, the prospect of developing a new revenue stream was very appealing.

Jersey Post developed the concept of the Call & Check scheme in conjunction with States of Jersey Health and Social Services and it now offers a regular visit daily, weekly or as agreed to members of our community who would benefit from a bit of extra help and support.

Our staff have a brief conversation with the client to ascertain how they are and if they need anything. Working with our customers’ designated contacts, we are then able to relay important messages or requests back to the relevant authority for action. The postal worker is in no way providing medical care or assistance to the clients, we are simply a regular, friendly face that frequently calls and checks, and can raise concerns with relevant third parties.

Jersey Post started out by running a limited pilot scheme in November 2013 and as it went successfully, we have now started to extend the pilot in to other areas of the island.

We faced a number of challenges while setting up the scheme. Call & Check is at its most effective when working in conjunction with health professionals and voluntary sector groups. The challenges we have faced have tended to be around groups refusing to collaborate in forming a more integrated community service. Thankfully attitudes have changed as groups realized that Call & Check is here to help them not to compete.

We have had enquiries about how we are running it from all over the world, not only from postal operators but from voluntary groups for the ageing and even the UK Government. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive not only for the vulnerable people who we are checking up on but it also takes a lot of pressure off their families.

The future for the programme

We expect Call & Check to carry on growing and fulfilling a need for our ageing population and at the same time start to supply a new form of revenue to our postal business.

Although Call & Check was originally designed to meet the needs of an ageing population it is now being extended to people with disabilities and I think it will eventually be for anyone who needs a Call & Check service.

It was very gratifying to be recognized by fellow postal operators at the World Mail Awards for what we are trying to do, plus is it gives us a platform to talk about the type of areas the postal operators can evolve into.”

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