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Northamptonshire’s Volunteer Telephone Befriending service shortlisted for prestigious national award

Written by on January 18, 2022

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire’s (VIN) collaborative telephone befriending service has been shortlisted in the annual HSJ (Health Service Journal) Partnership Awards. 

NHFT and VIN work in partnership to deliver the innovative telephone support service, which was first established in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The befriending service, which is manned by volunteers, offers support for people across the county who have become isolated whilst staying at home throughout the pandemic. 

Together, they have been shortlisted in the “Best Not for Profit Working in Partnership with the NHS” category in this year’s National HSJ Awards, the winner of which will be announced at the glittering award ceremony in March this year. This prestigious national award celebrates and recognises a variety of public, private and third sector organisations across the country who work in partnership with NHS trusts to support our communities.

Angela Hillery, Chief Executive of NHFT, said:

“The service has grown from strength to strength since it first began in March 2020. Working with GP surgeries in the county and local community groups, the service is able to provide vital support for more people across our communities. I would like to congratulate Mandy, her team and all of our brilliant volunteers for being shortlisted for this award, it demonstrates the real difference the team make every day.”

Mandy Woolf, Volunteer Services Manager, first had the idea to launch a new service at the start of pandemic when face-to-face volunteering services were stood down; she recognised the need to continue to provide for people who were isolated at home, in need of support and companionship. 

The befriending service has grown from just a small team of three volunteers to a team of more than 20. The team support patients who have been discharged from other services, providing regular contact to help build confidence, support those dealing with ill mental health to provide a listening ear and support palliative patients to have conversations about their day-to-day activities.

Becky Thornton, Development Manager at VIN, added:

“We are delighted to hear that the Befriending Service has been shortlisted for this award.  It is a clear recognition of the fantastic work our staff and volunteers have been doing in providing this crucial service.”

To find out more about volunteer services at NHFT, including opportunities to become involved in support services, visit 

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