Tens of thousands of lives are at serious risk from the coronavirus pandemic – especially the elderly, the sick and the homeless. Building on 5 years of domestic welfare programmes, the award winning humanitarian agency Penny Appeal has launched a bespoke “Listening Line” for those whose wellbeing and mental health have been under pressure in the current crisis. The charity is also working with Age UK Bradford as well as a number of local and national partners to support vulnerable people in crisis through a hardship fund, food and hygiene packs and an awareness campaign.

The “Listening Line” will offer a confidential active listening support service that is open to adults who find themselves lonely, anxious or worried about how COVID-19 may affect their daily lives.  Being asked to self-isolate, avoiding other people and working from home can seriously impact people’s mental health and well being. Individuals may find themselves locked away from the outside world, struggling with intrusive thoughts and having no one to speak with.

The emergency freephone helpline (0300 303 1360) will operate between 12 noon  to 8pm, 7 days per week (including bank holidays) and provides national coverage to all adults who are feeling anxious, isolated and worried during this global pandemic. Callers can talk to the helpline team and receive non-judgmental support for however long they need too.

The helpline is run by fully trained and experienced practitioners; they have the skills to actively listen to caller needs and respond in a sensitive and supportive manner as well as sign post to secondary and tertiary care providers.

Penny Appeal Interim CEO, Harris Iqbal said “COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge to our public health, and must be met with an equally unprecedented response in community services for those who are particularly vulnerable or in need. Our “Listening Line” is essentially a lifeline for the most isolated in our communities. Loneliness is a silent killer and we are doing what we can to tackle it head on.”

Wellbeing Services Manager at Penny Appeal, Hinna Zafar said, “Our trained practitioners are ready to answer the call of those in need. We want to tell people that they are not alone, so please share our freephone number, 0300 303 1360, with anyone who you think might be at risk.”

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