Northamptonshire telephone link service shortlisted for prestigious national health award

A Northamptonshire Telephone Friendship Service has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire (VIN) are working in partnership to deliver the helpline, which was set up in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

The Friendship Service, which is run by volunteers, offers support to people across the county who have self-isolated while staying at home throughout the pandemic.

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The Friendship Service offers support to people across the county who have self-isolated while staying at home.

Now the phone line has been nominated for ‘Best Nonprofit Work in Partnership with the NHS’ in this year’s National Health Service Journal (HSJ) awards.

Angela Hillery, Managing Director of NHFT, said: “The service has gone from strength to strength since its launch in March 2020.

“By working with county medical practices and local community groups, the service is able to provide vital support to more people in our communities.

“I want to congratulate Mandy, her team and all of our brilliant volunteers for being shortlisted for this award, it shows the real difference the team makes every day.”

Mandy Woolf, Volunteer Services Manager, first came up with the idea to launch a new service at the start of the pandemic when face-to-face volunteer services were cut; she recognized the need to continue to provide for those isolated at home, in need of support and companionship.

The Friendship Service has grown from a small team of three volunteers to a team of over 20.

The team supports patients who have been discharged from other services, providing regular contact to help build trust, helping people with mental health issues offer a listening ear, and assisting patients in palliative care to have conversations about their daily activities.

Becky Thornton, Development Manager at VIN, added: “We are delighted to hear that the Befriending service has been shortlisted for this award.

“It is a clear recognition of the fantastic work that our staff and volunteers have done to provide this crucial service.”

The prestigious national award celebrates and recognizes a variety of public, private and third sector organizations across the country who work in partnership with NHS trusts to support our communities.

The winner will be announced at the glittering awards ceremony in March this year.

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