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Hestia is a charity that provides high-quality support for adults and children in crisis across London. They work in collaboration with local authorities and other partners to ensure that everyone within their care is equipped with the tools necessary for a life beyond a crisis.

To address the isolation and exclusion that a lack of digital skills and confidence can contribute, Hestia created a digital champion service, which utilises volunteers to support service users learning simple digital skills.

The process has been automated so that people can refer service users by completing a simple form, which is power automated and feeds into a planner that volunteers can access via Microsoft Teams.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since January 2021.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Hestia’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need to learn the skills to access and enjoy the digital world safely and with confidence
  • As a service user, I need to share my goals and motivations about getting online
  • As a volunteer, I need to feel included in the team and to have the tools to provide valuable support to service users
  • As a volunteer, I need to easily access referral information without having to worry about sharing sensitive information over email
  • As a volunteer, I need to know the digital confidence level of the service user and what they want help with, so I can support them effectively
  • As a member of staff, I need to have a referral process that is smart, streamlined and which I will feel encouraged to use again
  • As a member of staff, I need to easily see what uptake of the service is like and how many service users have been supported to achieve their goals

Software and tools used

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 is a collection of tools, which includes Office apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. It also offers cloud storage and can be accessed remotely from computers, tablets and phones.


Microsoft 365 is available through a number of different tiered subscriptions to Microsoft 365, which vary in price.

Microsoft 365 Basic is available for free but lacks some of the functionality required to put more complex recipes into operation.

The most basic paid plan, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, starts at £3.80 per user per month. This includes increased file storage, recordings, and unlimited meeting times.

Microsoft 365 subscriptions are available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

You can view more info on Microsoft 365 pricing here.


Microsoft 365 covers all parts of the process created for this recipe and allows all information to stay within the system and remain confidential. At present, Hestia is planning to move from using Planner to SharePoint lists, which has the advantage of allowing volunteers to only access the details of calls assigned to them personally.

Recipe steps

1. Know the gaps

If you conduct your delivery digitally, then think about how this can impact other parts of the journey for your service user. Digitising referral forms is a good place to start.

Your service users may have varying levels of requirements, so ensure that the questions asked on your form give you a good understanding from the outset of what their specific needs are.

Ask questions about what the service user is hoping to achieve from the service you offer, to give an indication of what the issues may be and how to tailor your service to them.

2. Implement Power Automate

Ensure key workers fill in a Microsoft form to refer a service user.

Your IT department or member of staff can implement Power Automate for you.

The form can feed into a planner where tasks can be allocated to members of your team.

3. Set up volunteers to use the planner

Make sure all volunteers are set up with a Microsoft email account so all information is kept confidential and secure.

Volunteers have different skill levels, so some people may need training before using the planner.

The volunteer can use the information about the user in the referral letter and conduct a phone call with the user.

4. Use the form to implement delivery

The volunteer can break down the initial goal that was stated on the form into smaller chunks and understand how they can tailor their service delivery to be smooth and fun for the user.

Ensure the volunteer has the contact email for the referrer so they can communicate about progress or any safeguarding issues.

Volunteers should write notes on the planner so that team leads are updated on the service user.

5. Iterate the process

Look into different software that you use to continuously update how you work. For example, you can consider using SharePoint lists as an option over the planner as you can limit what a volunteer sees and the tasks allocated to them. This is better for data protection.

You can use data from the forms by moving them into bracketed outcomes of whether the service delivery has been successful, partially successful, or not successful.

Gather feedback from volunteers during volunteer supervision. Understand what the volunteers think could be improved about the process and use their feedback to implement any updates to the referral form.


The digitised referral form makes the process a lot faster and therefore you don’t lose referrals.

The digitised form means it is continuously updated; therefore you can keep an eye on the whole progress of the service user.

You will need some support from an IT member to set up the power automation.


You’re talking to people who are in crisis so there could be safeguarding concerns that are being shared. You can help equip volunteers with the skills necessary to manage this during their induction.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Cosimo Matteini (Activities Coordinator)


Many thanks to Hestia for contributing this recipe.


This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Hestia and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on May 6th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021