Volunteer Chatters are here to listen

31st October 2021

Check in chat
“If you wish to make a difference this is the right place to be and also you will learn so much.”

Volunteer Chatter Check in and Chat was initially launched in May 2020 in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Since then, Check-in & Chat (C&C) has adapted to become an additional support service available to patients and their unpaid carers across the entire Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL). C&C Service has supported over 220 people offering these individuals a friendly listening ear and the chance to learn more about any local support services or community organisations that they might benefit from.

Check In & Chat Service provides a friendly, trained ear to support service users and unpaid carers who may be experiencing isolation, loneliness, exhaustion and poor mental health. They can talk to the chatters about anything and everything! “All I can say, it has really uplifted me. I will call my neighbour and share it with them straight after my call. I forgot how to pick up the phone. It felt very good. I am really pleased. Really appreciate the service when needed it and giving me the clarity and the support moving forwards.” Carer feedback

The service is not here to tell people what to do; it is here to listen. Simply verbalising how you’re feeling can be a daunting task, but it can be part of the solution for a better YOU. Check in & Chat has a team of trained volunteers ‘chatters’ who are approachable, polite, and respectful who provide an impartial telephone support for up to one hour per week for eight weeks to decrease the health-harming impacts of loneliness and isolation, offer informal support and encourage networking with community resources. “Each week I looked forward to it. Not getting out much and not having to talk to someone with the long period stuck in doors was hard so It was nice to look forward to speak to someone. I was very open and honest with my chatter.” Carer feedback

The chatters have gone through thorough training to enable them to understand the role and support service users and carers wholeheartedly. We are an approachable and friendly team of staff and chatters, all embarking on a journey consistently offering a high level of service. “Chatter was very professional and she kept focused on what was needed. She answered all my questions and very careful. She would not comprise and always check with supervisor. Always checking. Very good! If you ask me to give you a number from 0 to 100, I will give 110.” Carer feedback

When they join the service, the person will be allocated to a ‘Chatters’ who will call and introduce themselves and explain more about Check In & Chat and get to know them. They will call at an agreed time, to see how they are, what support they need and provide a listening ear. Chatters will also work with the person to identify what support they can access, signposting to services and information. "If I hadn't had Check in & Chat to support me and provide a warm, friendly ear, I don't know who I could have turned to. I would have ended up really poorly with my mental health and unable to care for my loved ones." The volunteers have supported over 220 vulnerable people and accumulated more than 319 chats just from January to July. They have a team of 43 chatters, and growing! They are eager, willing and highly empathetic; they also can speak multiple languages and represent the communities they work in. “I love listening people in need and the virtual support received by CNWL was amazing, they made me feeling part of a big NHS family.” Volunteer chatter: “Being a listener in the check in and chat service is such a pleasure, we make the difference for people in desperate need of non-judgmental ears :).”

Read more inspiring stories here.