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Coronavirus: Phone befriending service to help vulnerable young people

Coronavirus: Phone befriending service to help vulnerable young people

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 6:45am 17th April 2020. (Updated at 7:59am 18th April 2020)

A telephone 'befriending' service has been launched for vulnerable young people who are struggling to live with social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • North Yorkshire Council is launching a telephone befriending service during the coronavirus outbreak.   
  • The service will give young people access to emotional support during the lockdown.  
  • The County Council hopes to be able to give support to up to 30 young people aged 12-20 at any given time.

It will give young people access to emotional support throughout the lockdown, and means they can confide in someone of a similar age.  

North Yorkshire County Council’s Restorative Academy recruits practice relief workers aged between 16 and 25, many of whom have experienced care.

The befriending service is taking enquiries from leaving care services, looked after children services, fostering services and the early help service.

The County Council hopes to extend the service to help up to 30 young people aged between 12 and 20 at any given time. 

phone keypad

Amy Harlow is helping out with the service.  She said: 

“I feel so sorry for people who don’t have support during this difficult time,” said Amy. “That is why we wanted to set up a service which provides vital support and ensures that young people can actually take something positive out of the experience.” 

Lydia Bailey, who is also helping out, said:

“The service has been really helpful and the people on the other end of the phone have made others feel reassured about the whole situation. 

“I’ve had text messages, phone calls and videos from people just checking up, talking about everyday things. You might not be able to see them but they are only at the end of the phone keeping us all smiling.”

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, said: 

“I would like to thank our restorative practice relief workers who are dedicating their time to help those feeling isolated in this very difficult lockdown period.

“Some of our young people are struggling with social distancing so speaking to people of the same age and background proves very comforting when you’re not able to go out and socialise. We want our young people to keep to the rules on social distancing and stay at home because it helps to stop the virus spreading, but we know how difficult this can be for young people and so this service is there to help.”