What’s happening with the wellbeing team

Our wellbeing team has been working hard since lockdown began in March 2020, contacting customers who they think may need a little extra support.

We caught up with Community Investment Coordinator – Tina Nash, on the wellbeing project, to find out more.

Hi Tina, can you tell us a bit about the wellbeing project?
The project was introduced in response to Covid-19 – we call customers directly to find out how they are, and reassure them that we’re here  if they need help.

‘I spoke to one customer who had little money or food and was feeling quite desperate. I put him in touch with colleagues in the Communities team who helped him access our emergency grant, that helps people in need with items including food and utilities.’

Who is the team contacting?
So far, we’ve focused on contacting all customers over 70 years of age.

‘Many of us on the team work within our communities as part of our normal job roles, so we’ve used our local knowledge to contact customers who we think may need support too.

‘We also receive referrals via our contact centres from customers who have contacted us asking for help, or who they think may need some assistance.’

What kind of support are customers asking for?
‘One of the main areas has been food deliveries. Many customers don’t fit the government shielding criteria for high-risk groups, missing out on vital supermarket deliveries and other services. We’ve put them in touch with volunteers who can help with things like their shopping and picking up medication.

We can support customers with access to local services and organisations, as well as our own specialist teams for financial, mental health, young person and employment support, as well as digital inclusion.’

‘Financial concerns have been another big issue. I was quite surprised at the number of over 70s who still work part-time. Many had to stop working abruptly, which has impacted their income. We’ve put them in touch with our financial support and income teams, who have helped them access the government support they need.

‘Finally, help with getting online has been another key area. I’ve had to talk customers through how to use smart phones, tablets and digital software to stay connected with friends and family.

‘We can refer them to our Digital Inclusion Champion, Sejal Sanghvi, if we think they need more support too. My colleague, Sejal has helped customers apply for Catalyst’s digital inclusion device grant, to provide them with digital devices such as a tablet or mobile Wi-Fi. Sejal also offers specialist digital inclusion training for those who need it.’

How many customers do you contact each day?
Each member of the team is given a list at the start of the week, which we work through. Some days I talk to just two customers, if they need support or referrals to our specialist teams and external; other days it can be more.’

Do you think the project has highlighted better ways of working with customers in the future?
I think it’s opened our eyes to the benefits of virtual communications. Being more digital in our communications – and supporting customers who need it with these platforms – will help us connect with customer who either haven’t got the time, or don’t have the ability to visit our offices and community centres as much as they’d like.

‘It’s also helped people find out about services they didn’t know about, such as our digital inclusion service. It’s made me realise we need to let more people know about these services.

What have you enjoyed most about  the project?
The value of a phone call. You can tell when it’s lifted someone’s day, if they’re feeling lonely. These wellbeing calls are really living our value of showing kindness. I have enjoyed talking to people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak to before, and it’s been wonderful to know that you’ve been able to help them in whatever small way you can.’

How can the Wellbeing team help you

Our Wellbeing team offer a range of support services such as befriending and mutual aid groups, access to food banks, emergency fuel and food grants as well as providing digital devices and intensive training to digitally excluded households.

The Wellbeing team can refer customers to our employment and skills practitioners and our money and benefits advisors too.