Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft) is continuing to recruit volunteers to help support its Wellbeing and Texting Service this Volunteers Week.

Over the last 12 months, the LSCft Wellbeing Helpline took over 8,000 calls with a team of 80 volunteers helping to run the support service. The Trust is now looking to recruit further volunteers to help operate the service.

The helpline is a freephone out of hours service to help those requiring emotional support in relation to their own mental health or someone they are worried about. Callers are encouraged to make their own choices about how their healthcare needs may be met.

Service Manager Lorraine Khalaf, said:

“We’ve always relied on an incredible team of volunteers and look to recruit additional support regularly throughout the year. Sadly over the last couple of years, we’ve not been able to recruit the normal levels as a result of the pandemic.

We are seeing an increase in demand to the service so are urgently looking to increase our team of volunteers.

There are huge benefits to being a volunteer with the wellbeing service; not only would you be making a difference to people’s lives, for some callers it may be the only person they’ve had an open and honest conversation with for days. It’s truly a lifeline for some people.”

A volunteer added:

“When I decided to join the helpline, we were facing difficult times due to the pandemic. I wanted to give something back to the community, to help people and provide emotional support when necessary.

As a volunteer you are not only anonymously supporting other people, but you are also developing new skills such as confidence, critical thinking, and active listening. Nevertheless, you are part of a great team, supportive and always willing to help you.

Working on the helpline has improved my personal and interpersonal skills, helped my problem-solving capacity to deal with unexpected events and assisted me to adapt easily to new changes and challenges.”

Anyone can apply for the positions, and if successful will receive full training, as well as a comprehensive support package. The service requirement is that a volunteer operator commits to at least a four hour shift every other week.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should contact 01253 447 900 or email Listening.Helpline@lascft.nhs.uk

The helpline operates across the following days and times, Monday to Friday 7pm to 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to midnight.

The texting service operates across the following days and times, Monday to Friday 9am until 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 midday until 12 midnight.

The helpline strives to maintain a safe and confidential space for callers to discuss any issues in relation to their own mental health, however some exceptions to confidentiality may apply under certain circumstances.

Call the helpline on 0800 915 4640 or Text HELLO to 07860 022 84.