A dedicated helpline set up to provide a single point of contact for Somerset residents at the start of the coronavirus pandemic has now taken more than 17,000 calls.
Somerset’s Coronavirus Helpline was launched in April 2020 by the five Somerset councils (Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council and South Somerset District Council) working together with partner organisations such as Mindline, Citizens Advice Bureau and the Community Council for Somerset (CCS) Village Agents to offer a range of vital support.
The contact centre advisors who answer the phones have had to keep a firm grasp on the latest information and changing guidance.
When a resident calls the Coronavirus Helpline, they are given seven options to choose from. These include personal care and support including food and prescriptions delivery, transport, employment and skills, housing, waste and financial support, emotional support, help for providers such as care homes, and all other enquiries.
Since the start of the pandemic, the nature of calls has evolved to reflect changes in the community – moving from requests for help with food and prescription delivery to support with finances, employment, and mental health.
One caller who rang in a distressed state was reassured by staff who put her in touch with those who could help. The caller was so grateful for the response that she sent flowers as a “thank you for your incredible help.”
The Coronavirus Helpline number is 0300 790 6275, and remains available seven days a week, from 8am to 6pm including Bank Holidays.