When lockdown began back in March, we closed our centres and suspended all face-to-face support to protect our clients, volunteers and staff. We had to quickly adapt and provide our services remotely, ensuring that clients had access to the support that they needed.

We had a lot of dedicated and trained volunteers who were extremely keen to play a part in this.  Their support has been invaluable in helping us reach as many clients as we have over the past seven months.

As a result, we launched a new light-touch emotional support service, delivered by volunteers, to check-in with clients regularly over the phone.  

How does the service work?

Volunteers and clients have weekly calls for around 30 minutes, discussing how the client is feeling and ways they could manage their wellbeing during such a challenging time. 

Many of our clients have struggled with loneliness and isolation as a result of not being able to go out and see their friends, family and neighbours.  Having a friendly voice at the end of the phone each week and somebody asking how they are doing has been a huge support to them. 

With our volunteers having these regular conversations we have also quickly been able to identify individuals who are very vulnerable and in crisis, including those who needed help accessing food and medication during the height of lockdown. 

How the service has helped our clients:

The service has provided our volunteers and clients with a more flexible way of working together, as calls can take place in the evening and not just the daytime when most of our face-to-face services operate. This has meant that we are also able to involve those volunteers who work or have other commitments during the day.  This remote support has been very popular amongst our clients and our amazing volunteers have made over 220 calls since the service launched! 

Clients have described their weekly calls as a lifeline, with some clients describing how they have felt able to go out for the first time in months.

As well as supporting people who are feeling lonely or isolated, in the future, this will also be a great way of reaching out to those with mobility issues, those who find it difficult to travel to us, as well as those who aren’t yet feeling ready for face-to-face support.

How to access support:

To access this service you must be a current client with Hertfordshire Mind Network, please give us a call on 02037 273600 or complete the referral form on our website.