The impact of Covid-19 on helplines – April to June 2020

Annika Howard
Woman wearing face mask against a dark background

Over the past three months, from April to June, we have asked Helplines Partnership members about the impact of Covid-19 on their organisation and service. We've produced a short summary report with some of the qualitative and quantitative data we've gathered over the last three months.

Capturing snapshots of the helpline sector

Each month, we were able to take a snapshot capturing:

  • Changes in demand for helpline services
  • Suspension of contact channels
  • Changes to operating hours
  • Staff and volunteer numbers
  • Remote working
  • Key concerns for helplines

Covid-19 and its impact on helplines month by month

April - In conversations with members we learned that for one, their calls had increased by three times the usual number. Another helpline said they had seen a 30% increase in contacts and another, had received three months of calls in three days.

One domestic abuse helpline reported a 15% decrease in calls – the reasons could be complex with self-isolation and staying at home with family. Callers may not be able to get the support they need.

May - Members were reporting an increase in online support being offered through webchat, online meetups and more online.

Concerns about team wellbeing, funding and how to adapt their services, as we emerge from lockdown, were common amongst those who took part in the survey.

June - Safeguarding was something that members raised particularly in their concerns. Team wellbeing continues to be a concern for organisations as does funding.

Confusion over government guidance, as well as different guidance in the regions, became more of an issue this month. As did issues with helpline technology and the implications if it fails or is unable to cope with increased demand.

Read the report