Thanks to generous donations to the NHS Charities Together Urgent Appeal and the grant awarded to Oxford Health Charity, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new befriending phone line for carers, to help them feel less alone during this particularly challenging time.

Carers can call 01865 901012 at any time, leave their details and a befriender will call back between 11am and 12 noon, Monday to Friday. The line is purely to support a family member, friend or carer and is being supported by staff and volunteers from Oxford Health, offering volunteers a new role at a time when many can’t do their normal roles.

Di Hilson, carers’ lead for the trust, said:

“Looking after someone, of any age, with a mental health illness, a physical health condition or a learning disability can be challenging. It can be lonely and make people feel cut off from others. The impact of COVID-19 is likely to have made some carers feel even more isolated and alone, with little or no contact with others. We recognise that family members, friends and carers of our patients may be having a difficult time and we want to support them. The befriending line offers an opportunity to have a friendly chat with someone.” 

Becca, one of the volunteer befrienders, said: “I am really excited to be part of the carers’ befriending line. Growing up as a carer myself I often just got on and did it, without taking the time to care for myself. I am proud to be part of an initiative where carers are cared for.”

Urgent Appeal Grants

Grants given to NHS charities are used to meet the immediate and urgent needs of patients, staff and volunteers. Funding is also going towards helping partnerships outside hospitals, such as hospices, community healthcare and social care, making sure patients leaving hospital have access to the care they need to recover. In the longer term it will also fund programmes to help staff and volunteers recover fully once the crisis has abated, reducing the long-term impact on them and the people they care about.

About the Urgent Appeal

The NHS Charities Together Urgent Appeal acknowledges and supports NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients. It has been put together in liaison with NHS England and national bodies, our member NHS charities and national giving platforms. Click here to donate.