Preparing to celebrate 25 years of Helplines Partnership

Paula Ojok

We have come a long way. So let me begin with a brief recount of our story, so far. In 1989 The Helplines Association, our ancestor organisation was formed. They merged with Mental Health Partnership in September 2012 to form Helplines Partnership (HLP). HLP is today the largest umbrella body for providers of helpline services, delivering a comprehensive range of training, quality standards, telephony systems and many other member benefits. So I think we rightly celebrate this year a quarter of a century of support, sustainability and campaigning on behalf of the helpline sector.

Major achievements over the years include our CEO, Theodore Spyrou winning the award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013, for organisational growth in a period of economic downturn. Liz Felton, HLP’s Chair was shortlisted as one of three finalists for Trustee of the Year award for creating the merger with THA to form the major body within the helpline sector, ensuring a future for both organisations. I myself was shortlisted for the Microsoft Dynamics People and Culture award and this year Helplines Partnership was a finalist at the non-government organisations (NGO’s) category of the Digital Leaders 2014 Awards.

We aim to celebrate our achievements, and the achievements of our valuable members, through a number of activities, culminating at our Annual Conference on 7 November 2014. This will be a key date for the sector, for we have many great speakers and events in store. The keynotes of the conference will come from high profile experts within our sector. A futurologist will look at the historical trends of society, charities, helplines and technology - and review what has happened over the past 25 years to the present day. Together we will explore a mix of trend spotting and futurology to imagine what the next 25 years could bring for the helplines sector in the areas of technology, anthropological advances, sociological developments and helplines role in society. The Annual Conference will be a great opportunity for networking, meeting friends, peers and colleagues, and exchanging ideas and experiences. We are currently working on a number of ideas that will further enhance the experience of participating at the Conference, including an "Art of Helplines" competition. This year we will also introduce a number of awards that will aim to add visibility to the hard work and the important achievements of our members.

Indeed, I am delighted to announce our Awards categories for helplines to apply:

  • Helpline Impact Award
  • Best innovative use of technology
  • Helpline employee of the year
  • Helpline volunteer of the year
  • Helpline of the year

A drinks reception and awards ceremony will conclude the day of the Conference. Further information to secure your place, enter your organisation for an award and submit an entry for our ‘Art of Helplines’ competition will follow in our next newsletter.

Read our Members Survey: challenges and opportunities for helplines in the UK.

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