A new service that aims to provide help and advice for Cabinet Office staff battling work, health or personal problems has gone live today.
The volunteer-run Listening Service is based on similar schemes at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport.
It aims to fill a gap in the support currently offered to staff, by assigning a dedicated volunteer “listener” to directly help those in need of help, or signpost them to other relevant services.
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Scheme co-ordinator Charlotte Kume-Holland said that while there were existing support services for people with mental health problems and workplace bullying complaints, they did not always provide the assistance that staff needed.
“What we’re providing is a good way in for people who feel something is not quite right, but don’t know which service can help them,” she told CSW.
“When you look at the services that are currently available, there is a danger that people can be pigeon-holed before the roots of their problem are really clear.”
Kume-Holland, whose day job is with the CO’s Office for Civil Society, also volunteers with the Samaritans and previously offered her time to student-support service Nightline.
She said 15 volunteers had been trained to offer support as part of a first wave for the programme, which is unfunded, but that a further intake was planned. She added that there were volunteers based in both London and Manchester, so colleagues could opt to receive help from someone unlikely to be familiar with their workplace if they desired.
The service can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org