Where would you go if it were happening to you?

Nicola James

Helplines Partnership annually holds the Helpline Awards to recognise the excellent work helplines do for people who need help and support.

I asked one of our Helpline Award judges, Emily Hodge, Coach Therapy Support to tell us about her experience of the process and making those tricky final decisions. Here’s what she had to say.

What links a women’s refuge in Wales, coping with debt, supporting mental health and finding missing people?

On the surface it’s obvious – they’re all areas in our society where people require high levels of support whether emotionally, practically or physically. They need services in place so if things go wrong they can access help to get them through the day.

We all know someone who suffers with poor mental health, we want to support ourselves to be solvent and we may require advice when things go wrong in our relationships. I’m pleased to say that what also links these areas are the helplines that provide such valuable support to those in need. These helplines have been recognised in this year’s Helplines Partnership Helpline Awards.


Judging the awards is no easy feat. You’ll hear it said before and it’s clichéd but true – it is incredibly difficult to choose between enormously effective, often small-sized yet high-impact services. The amazing stories you are allowed to be a part of and witness are humbling – the volunteers who have spent their lives on calls supporting others, the new staff member who has bought engaging and innovative ideas for change, the trustee who gave up their city job to actually, make a difference within the helpline sector.

The winners shone through in their ability to show how they’ve had the most impact that year, been the best helpline, put the most innovative systems in place, taken risks and shown how their staff went that extra mile.

Attending the Helplines Partnership Annual Conference 2016, was further confirmation of how the work carried out by incredibly pressured services are constantly monitoring, assessing and improving how they support their beneficiaries.

With inspiring talks from the speakers - Carol Smith (The Royal British Legion), Simon Weston CBE, Jonny Benjamin and Neil Lambourn, we’re at risk of over-using the “inspirational” word to the nth degree. However, understanding its definition as showing creative or spiritual inspiration, we can see how these speakers made changes in their times of adversity and give us all the drive we need to make changes in our own life and work.

It was an honour to be amongst colleagues who provide the best service and I’d like to offer a group thanks to everyone who is working, volunteering and part of the helpline world. In society, we are all indebted to your services and increasingly reliant on them. Just amazing.

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