The Anne Robson Trust launches new #TimeToTalk hotline

Anne Robson Trust

Anne Robson Trust's new helpline - Credit: Anne Robson Trust

This Christmas, Stevenage-based charity, The Anne Robson Trust (ART), is launching its first-ever appeal, #TimeToTalk, to spread awareness about their national freephone helpline (0808 801 0688), offering vital support to anyone nearing the end of their life, their family, carers, friends, or colleagues.

ART Founder and CEO, Liz Pryor, who set up the charity three years ago following the unexpected death of her mother in 2010, explains why the pandemic has seen an increasing demand for the helpline service: “As a result of Covid-19, many more people have sadly died, or are dying, both from Covid and other illnesses. Those dying in hospital, care homes and hospices, are now more likely to have limited, or no contact at all with their families at a time when they really need support. It’s often hard to talk about the emotions experienced in the months, weeks, and days, before your own death or that of a loved one. I know from my own experience how difficult it was to find someone to talk to in the week before my mother died, so it’s vital that people have somewhere to turn to and feel supported.”

The Helpline is manned by a team of volunteers and is currently open Monday to Friday, 12pm until 6.00pm. With plans to extend the service in the future, volunteer, John Carr, said: “We are very bad at talking about death and dying. People worry about their nearest and dearest and don’t want to burden them. Our Helpline is open to all, and we receive calls from all kinds of people, young and old, some from those who are sadly dying themselves who just want to talk or have questions. We are here to help them through the most difficult period of their life. It’s a huge privilege to be able to ‘be there and have time’. We are all going to die at some point, so if I can help our callers through their darkest time, then I feel I’ve done my job’.

It costs £20 to fund a Helpline Volunteer for one hour of support – and £100 to recruit and train a Volunteer.

If you would like to make a difference to people who are dying, and their loved ones, by donating to the Anne Robson Trust #TimeToTalk Christmas Appeal, visit their website here: https://annerobsontrust.org.uk/christmas-helpline-campaign/.