Reflections on the Listen and Connect Service

Our team work extremely hard offering a safe space for people to feel heard and to talk about what is important to them; alongside practical solutions with links to clothing, food support and Share Shacks (borrowing tools and sharing practical skills).

Julie is one of our latest team members to join the Listen and Connect team and so we took a moment to reflect on the service and her role throughout the national COVID19 lockdowns. 

Tell me a bit about your role?

I have a varied and interesting role where I use my time and energy to call people that have been identified as needing a listening ear to help them make positive changes in their daily lives.

No two days or indeed hours are the same.

I work with people over a period of time to build up a safe and trusting relationship where they can honestly and openly discuss their lives, their needs, wishes and make plans to improve any areas identified.

People come to us for different reasons. Some that are grateful for a chat with someone as they are lonely, some need a little motivation and support to make some changes.  t Others need time and a safe space to talk through their problems, come up with their own answers and make steps to achieve their goals.

I see it as a privilege to be able to positively influence someone’s life during these times by giving only of my time, energy and focus. This can make such a difference to someone.

I am proud and happy to be a part of this team.

What is the Listen and Connect service?

We are a telephone support service that offers a safe space for people to feel heard and to talk about what is important to them.

We work within the wider network of TAWS and refer into all projects which means that we can offer practical solutions to issues discussed.

We have an experienced and knowledgeable team that provide up to 12 weeks of support for people to live well, be active, access information and advice, as well as connecting them to opportunities within their communities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. 

How have things changed since Lockdown?

It feels like everything has changed.  Our team is a direct response to the lockdown and started as a Befriending service that has now specialised further.

We communicate differently, we have to think more about inclusion, we are learning new skills but it also feels like we are coming together as communities and helping each other.

It has caused us to focus on the real basic needs of our fellow humans, and proven that we have a desire to do good and support  those who are struggling.  As they say “necessity is the mother of all invention” and so we have become more creative and really looked at sharing our skills for the wider good.

I am hoping that we can keep the sense of community that I have witnessed post Lockdown and continue the work we have started.

Our Listen & Connect service is available to residents of Birmingham who are 18+  who may be feeling concerned, lonely, anxious or simply in need of advice or signposting to other services. If you or someone you know, would like to speak to someone from our team then please get in touch with us through this form or by calling us on 0121 728 7030

Nafeesa Arshad
Author: Nafeesa Arshad