The Together for Families helpline is available on 0808 8088 100 and is now open from 7am to midnight, seven days a week. The service can also be contacted by email.
Previously the helpline was only available Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, but thanks to money raised by ICAP’s Charity Day the service is being extended.
ICAP’s Charity Day took place in December, where celebrities including Together for Short Lives patron Holly Willoughby and presenter Helen Skelton brokered some big money deals on the trading floor.
The helpline offers a one-stop shop for parents and other family members, as well as professionals caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. It provides information, signposting and support, backed up with an email information service, a range of quality downloadable resources, FAQs and online films for families.
Together for Short Lives Development Director Lizzie Chambers explained: “Any family member, concerned friend or professional can call the helpline or post an email question to our dedicated helpline team. We can provide information about any issues relating to caring for and supporting a child or young person with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.
“Drawing on the expertise of the Together for Short Lives staff team and its close links with its membership of children’s hospice and palliative care organisations and experts around the UK, this is a unique service providing information and support for those in the most challenging of situations.
“Seriously ill children need round-the-clock support – and so do the people who care for them.”
In addition to the helpline, Together for Short Lives has extended its advocacy support service to cover England and Wales, following a successful pilot.
The service aims to alleviate some of the bureaucratic burden that families face when accessing the care system, so that they can focus on being a family.
Lizzie Chambers said: “Our volunteer support advocates can help families to plan an approach, explain a need, present a request, and carefully and fairly make sure that request is addressed.
“The service is not about lawyers using the law, but it is about lawyers using the other skills they have developed, for example being ready to write the letter, make the phone calls or attend the meeting that will help get the grant, the adjustment at school, the discount, the repayment, the allowance, the attention from the authority, the place, the short break, the reply – whatever it is that should be happening but is not.
“The project is about lawyers speaking for others, maintaining objectivity and helping to find solutions.”
More information about the advocacy support service can be found on the Together for Short Lives website, or by calling the helpline on 0808 8088 100.