Oxford Health Charity are proud to fund a new befriending phone line for carers. Carers can call 01865 901012 at any time and leave their details. A befriender will call back between 11am and 12 noon, Monday to Friday.

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.”

The line is not for emergencies and responders will not have access to any clinical information or be able to answer questions about a patient’s care. It is purely to support a family member, friend or carer. The service is being supported by staff and volunteers from Oxford Health, offering volunteers also a new role at a time when many can’t do their normal roles.

Volunteer Becca Cheetham, from Didcot, had her first call on Friday last week and the carer she spoke to was “just happy to have someone to talk to.”
“It is clear COVID has made things difficult for carers. Many feel that there’s just no respite,” Becca says.

“In the beginning there was perhaps a ‘honeymoon period’, but the pandemic and social isolation has now gone on for so long. Carers may experience an intense amount of contact with the person they care for but can be lonely and isolated from others, and people are feeling that increasingly now,” she notes.

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