Set up by Hampshire County Council, through working closely with district council partners and the county’s community and voluntary sector, the helpline has had 10,000 referrals for support and received 22,112 calls.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “The helpline has been a lifeline for thousands of people who have sought information, advice and practical support to help them cope during what has been an extremely difficult and challenging time for many.
“It is thanks, not only to County and District Council staff, but to the many hundreds of volunteers who have given their time freely, that we have been able to provide much needed support and reassurance to so many. And the good news is that we’re still here and open for business.”
The helpline It can be contacted on 0333 370 4000 (calls charged at a local rate) and is currently available seven days a week (during national restrictions), from 9am-5pm.
Local residents can contact the helpline on a range of issues, from help with basic shopping requirements and vital medication collections for those shielding and self-isolating, to assistance and signposting in relation to financial difficulties and help with transport to vaccination centres.
In addition to responding to some 400 calls each week, the helpline has also been instrumental in proactively keeping in touch with the county’s Clinically Extremely Vulnerable residents to check they are well and able to manage and ensuring they have access to the support they need – particularly when required to shield.
Tim Houghton, Chief Executive of Community First, on behalf of the Hampshire CVS Network said:
“The local response in Hampshire has been fantastic. It’s been a real partnership effort between Hampshire County Council, our district and borough councils and the voluntary and community sector and the helpline has enabled vulnerable residents to get the advice and to access the support they need with many residents surprised at how quickly volunteers have been mobilised after making a call.
“The helpline will no doubt continue to play an important role as we move toward recovery. The longer term impacts of COVID are significant and we’re already seeing a marked increase in requests for help with mental health, reducing isolation and tackling economic and financial hardship. It’s crucial we continue to work together to support those most in need over the difficult and challenging months ahead.”
If preferred, residents can also request a call from the helpline via an online request form
Further information and advice to help residents is available at the Connect to Support Hampshire website:
• The latest Government and NHS advice
• Where to find help in your community
• Debt and money worries
• Mental health support
• Domestic abuse
• Helping someone to get online
• Problems with drug or alcohol misuse