Norwich volunteers among those staffing new helpline for NHS staff fighting pandemic
- Credit: Bill Smith - Archant
Volunteers in Norwich will be among those answering calls from NHS workers at the heart of the coronavirus fight on a new helpline set up to safeguard their mental health.
The NHS has launched the new phone line in a bid to support its 1.4m members of staff.
More than 1,500 volunteers will be staffing the lines from charities including Shout and the Samaritans.
They include some from Norwich Samaritans, which has been supporting people in distress or at risk of suicide for more than 55 years.
Bob Kuczma, its director, said: “When the call went out to the branch there was an overwhelming response by our volunteers.
“The normal helpline on 116 123 will back up the initial small number of dedicated volunteers to try and ensure that anyone phoning will be able to get through no matter what time of the day.”
NHS staff will be able to call or text a free number staffed by specially trained volunteers. It will be open between 7am to 11pm every day, and the text service will operate 24/7.
- 1 Greater Anglia application to demolish train station building thrown out
- 2 Doctors baffled by teenager's horrific long Covid symptoms
- 3 'How I made four million flipping council houses into luxury student digs'
- 4 Busy city Riverside roads to stay closed as transport hub works begin
- 5 Load of Bull! Anger as Red Bull ramps up threat against Norwich gin firm
- 6 It's going down! Demolition of car showroom begins to make way for homes
- 7 Store still cordoned off with police tape two months after break-in
- 8 Farmers' market near Norwich set to reopen for the new year
- 9 See inside this three-storey home with city views on sale for £370k
- 10 In pictures: The history and changing face of St Stephens
Norwich Samaritans, which is based at St Stephens Square, has appealed for help as it weathers the pandemic.
Having been declared an essential service by the government, the charity remains open and volunteers are able to carry out shifts while following strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines. It has closed the branch to face-to-face visitors.
But with its two shops - on Westlegate and Aylsham Road - closed and fundraising events cancelled, it is turning to the generosity of the public for financial help.
Mr Kuczma said: “Our volunteers are caring and dedicated individuals who volunteer their time for others.
“Now more than ever, we need the public’s continued support. Due to the cancellation of our upcoming fundraising events and the closure of our shops, we are facing a significant loss of funding, so we are calling on Norwich and Norfolk residents to help us ensure that we continue to be here for anyone who needs support.”
Mr Kuczma said a donation as of little as £5 would help volunteers answer a call for help from someone struggling to cope.
To make a donation or find out more about supporting the charity visit www.samaritans.org/branches/norwich/If you wish to send a cheque, please make it payable to Norwich Samaritans, c/o 19 St. Stephens Square, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 3SS.
• To follow coronavirus updates where you live, join our Facebook page here.
• You can also subscribe to our newsletter here.