OrangeLine has been taking calls since the start of September. Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, the team of trained volunteers is available for long friendly chats and can provide information and signposting to other local services.
The confidential service, funded by the Big Lottery, is available to anyone – callers do not need a prior relationship with the hospice or to be lonely/isolated as a result of a life-limiting illness.
The launch event last Thursday (15 September) saw a grand piano brought into the day therapy unit especially for Imogen to give a special performance.
There were also a number of speakers. Sarah, a volunteer, spoke about “the privilege it was to be part of the project, giving people the opportunity to talk.”
Explaining: “We have had calls from people as far away as Edinburgh, people who have loved ones at Saint Francis Hospice but who live so far away that they can’t come in to receive our other services. But now OrangeLine provides that ability to connect, amazingly, from the comfort of their own home.”
In the short time the OrangeLine team have been taking calls they have done more than just talk. For example, they have helped one patient get his laptop working and helped the mother of another patient to get her visa extended so that she could be with her son when he died.
“Since the service began taking calls at the start of September our hospice teams have been referring people to OrangeLine,” explains Jan Scott, service development manager.
“Our challenge now is to get the message out to GPs, healthcare professionals and the local community that OrangeLine is here to help them too.”
Work is now underway to help spread the word about the OrangeLine service. Saint Francis Hospice shops are being decorated with the specially designed OrangeLine posters and staff and volunteers are being provided with a simple briefing document so they can recommend the service to people they believe will benefit from calling.