How you’ve helped shape this year’s Helplines Partnership Conference

Annika Howard
Helplines Partnership Conference Signage

It’s less than two weeks to go until this year’s Annual Conference and Awards. Over the summer, we heard from a lot of helplines through a series of events we hosted for our members and non-members.

One of the questions we asked was ‘if you had a magic wand, what one thing would you like Helplines Partnership to do for your organisation?’ We listened to what you said, and we’ve used that to help shape this year’s Conference.

Technology and innovation for helplines

You said that you would like to hear from people who are leading on innovation and change; people who have introduced new channels to their helpline and people who know about new technology that is relevant to helplines.

We’ve lined up a series of expert speakers to talk about how helplines can use new technology to engage service users. Tom Watson, from the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA), Simon Stewart, from Samaritans and Dr Simon Davey, Director at Omega Alpha Limited. They will all focus on how digital can be used by helplines to support their work.

Sharing real-life examples

You said that you would like more opportunities to hear what other helplines are doing, share best practice and have an opportunity to reflect on your helpline by hearing about others.

As well as hearing from Samaritans about how they created the supportive environment of a Samaritans branch online, there’s our member showcase. This year, you’ll hear from Fosterline, a Helplines Standard accredited helpline, about the help and support it provides to its users and the reality of life as a foster carer.

Helping our workers cope

You said that one of the areas that concerns you is how to support your helpline team. We heard clearly from the helplines that attended our events that the volume and complexity of calls helplines are receiving are increasing.

Being able to support your team with their own self-care and wellbeing is crucial to having a happy and healthy team. Two of our seminars this year focus on practical training to help you support your team. You can learn about the importance of regular helpline supervision as well as how to manage and end calls in the most appropriate way.

Managing and recruiting volunteers

You said that volunteers were an area you would like some help with. How to find them, manage them and keep them.

Two of this year’s seminar sessions focus on volunteers. NCVO’s Volunteering Development Manager will be talking about the why what and how of volunteering. There’s also the chance to hear about how to schedule effective helpline rotas so that your team aren’t overloaded.

Networking

You said you wanted more opportunities to network with other helpline professionals.
The Annual Conference is a unique opportunity to network with your peers and other helplines. It’s a chance to catch up, take time away from your desk and learn about what other helplines are doing. Whether that’s from the speakers at the event, the people on your table or the chats that you have over coffee and lunch.

Celebrating helplines

Helplines play such a crucial role in supporting some of society’s most at risk in times of crisis. It can often be difficult to take the time to step back and reflect on the huge contribution you and your helpline make to the lives of the people who contact you for help advice and support. The Conference and Helpline Awards is an opportunity for everyone to stop and really think about just what an amazing job you are doing, and the role helplines play.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Paula Ojok - Joint Chief Executive Helplines Partnership

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