21st Sep, 2020

Redditch support network going above and beyond in lockdown

Ross Crawford 22nd May, 2020

Mental Health has become a significant issue for many people during the Covid 19 lockdown.

Liz Williams of Reach CIC in Winyates said at Support Redditch Emergency Network (SERN) call managers had been dealing with everything from loneliness and anxiety to those finding existing mental health problems made worse as their usual support networks couldn’t meet.

“SERN have been dealing with calls from as far away as Spain as partners, children or other relatives are trapped in lockdown,” said Liz.

“They are contacting us via the phone, the website and social media to get help for people they normally care for.”

She told how one person from Buckinghamshire had contacted them concerning their mother who lives on her own in Redditch and has mobility difficulties.

The Redditch team were not only able to sort out her shopping and her prescription collections, but she is now phoned regularly to make sure she has someone else to talk to and make sure she is okay.

“The helping out doesn’t just cover food and prescriptions, dog walking, friendly phone calls and supporting people who are finding it difficult to cope, as they are all part of a day’s work for our volunteers,” said Liz.

“On the website there is information for people from the newly redundant, those claiming benefits for the first time and links to information and support for those with mental health problems.”

Nicki Farnes, manager at the Ecumenical Centre and Emmanuel Church and a a trustee for SREN said: “Everyone answering the phones whether from Reach CIC/Church Hill Big Local Partnership or the Disability Support Project, is skilled and experienced in working with people to help them with whatever problem they may have.

“Most importantly they make the time to be friendly voice on the end of the phone.

“I don’t think its too much to say that new friendships have been created through efforts of the staff and volunteers.

“Our message for Mental Health Awareness Week is to Be Kind and remember you can never know what a person’s circumstances are, so try not to judge”.

SREN, with the slogan – ‘if we can’t help we probably know who can’ – can be contacted on 01527 919869.

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