A 17-strong, fully trained team is ready on the end of the phone for believe housing customers with concerns about their mental wellbeing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic or its wider impact.
The team, drawn from all corners of the organisation, has already helped hundreds of customers and is preparing itself for busy times ahead as the coronavirus situation continues to develop. Everyone in the team volunteers alongside their day job. They can provide support for an hour, a day, a week or even longer to ensure the safety of customers.
Any customer who contacts believe housing can be redirected straight to the support team if they express concerns about their wellbeing. At the outset of the pandemic, the number of customers being supported by the team increased by more than 50%.
Kim Graham from the team said: “We’re here to listen, offer support, and above everything else care. Sadly, we think it’s likely that more of our customers will have days when they’re really struggling as the pandemic continues to dominate so many of our lives.
“You might not think that your landlord can help; but we want all of our customers to know that we can, and will, offer real support.”
Customers who have been helped include one who was left isolated and without their usual access to friends and support by the coronavirus pandemic. Their situation was very worrying, and they were seriously considering harming themselves. The team worked quickly to ensure that police could attend and other support was located too. An emergency GP appointment was organised and follow up calls made sure that everything needed was put in place.
Another customer’s concerns were significantly heightened when they couldn’t reach their GP to discuss changing medication needs. The matter came to the attention of the Lettings Team at believe housing who immediately arranged for a call from a member of the support team. Acting as an advocate for the customer, contact was made with the GP and the full circumstances were explained. A telephone review was carried out by the GP and further support was quickly arranged.
“Some of the customers we’ve spoken to have literally told us that we’ve saved their lives. They’ve said they wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support they received.” Added Kim.
Other organisations, including Durham County Council, are now closely watching the work of the team and looking to implement similar processes.
To talk about any concerns you have, including money worries, rent, or antisocial behaviour, contact believe housing on 0300 1311 999.