How Forward’s online chat service became a valuable safety net

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In May 2020, Forward launched its first ever live-chat service: Reach Out. Amy Lucas, Reach Out Service Coordinator, describes how the service has grown in the past year.

Nearly a year ago, on 1st May 2020, Forward launched its first ever online chat service: Reach Out. Plans for such a service had been in the works for a while, but accelerated dramatically when the pandemic hit.

We were mindful that a lot of vulnerable people, both our current service users and those not currently getting help but struggling, would be looking for sources of support at what was an incredible lonely and anxious time, and Reach Out seemed to be one small way in which we could help.

It took a while for people to learn about the service, but – with funding from the National Lottery’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund and from J Leon Group to help with marketing and promotion – it has become increasingly popular and we’ve seen a 500% growth in call volume since November of last year.

Although Forward delivers a range of different types of support, including employment and housing, we’re most well-known for our drug and alcohol services. So we thought it was likely that the vast majority of people contacting us would do so to chat about issues with substances. And, to begin with, they did.

Read more here.

 


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This content was created by The Forward Trust