Highland Council coronavirus helpline gets 474 calls in first four hours
Highland Council’s freephone coronavirus helpline took more than 100 calls an hour on its first afternoon of operation.
It launched at 2pm on Tuesday and remained open until 6pm, receiving a total of 474 calls.
The line offers a range of assistance and advice and collects details of people and community groups who are eager to volunteer support during the coronavirus crisis.
The number – 0300 303 1362 – will connect callers to relevant specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm. All calls are free.
Callers will be able to get advice on benefits and personal support, education and social care. There will also be advice for businesses who may need help with financial support.
Helpline staff will also signpost callers to other organisations that can provide help and assistance and gather offers from individuals or community groups wishing to volunteer.
The service is operated by council staff and Eden Court volunteers. Staffing levels will be kept under review to respond to the demand.
Council chief executive Donna Manson said: “I want to thank everyone involved for all their hard work for getting this helpline up and running in such a short time.
"As well as Highland Council employees volunteering we are also very grateful for the assistance of Eden Court staff.
"The helpline is now in place to help those most in need of assistance, so we are requesting that anyone who can continue to use our online forms and resources, do so as much as possible.”
The new helpline is just one of several actions the council says it is taking. Work to set up a number of Humanitarian Assistance Centres across the Highlands is under way and details are expected to be published in the next 24 hours.