BAME Helpline Wales is providing callers with support on a wide range of issues, and through a variety of different languages.
There are hundreds of amazing organisations offering services across Wales, but it can be confusing to know which one can provide appropriate help. Confusion is made worse when there is a language barrier and the person who needs help is at crisis point. The BAME helpline can offer a first point of contact for the caller.
EYST, in partnership with Women Connect First, Henna Foundation, Promo Cymru and Wales TUC, is offering a BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) helpline which is available for anyone to use and provides call handlers who speak a wide range of languages.
BAME Helpline Wales is open every weekday (Monday to Friday) from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm. As well as providing language support, the team take the time to listen and really understand the caller’s needs, taking an average of between 20 to 45 minutes on an initial call. Team members can then refer and signpost to the most appropriate organisation. They will take steps to ensure that other agencies have the capacity and services to really meet the needs of the caller.
MULTI-LANGUAGE SUPPORT ON A RANGE OF ISSUES
Dalia Alhusseini, Project Manager and Team Lead, told WCVA about a number of issues that have been supported through signposting from the BAME Helpline Wales, including:
- physical and mental health (accounting for 23% of call topics)
- food and financial poverty
- language support
- racial harassment and hate crime
Though English has been the most commonly used, the selection of languages that can be used to access the helpline and discuss issues includes Arabic, Bengali (Indian), Hindi, Fujian dialect, Mandarin and Urdu. These languages are spoken by the BAME Helpline Wales call handlers, but a wider range of spoken languages are made available – Bengali (Sylheti), Cantonese, Farsi, Kurdish, Portuguese, Spanish, Suhani Kurdish, Tigriyan and Polish, to name a few – through external interpreters.
Suzanne Mollison, WCVA’s Safeguarding Officer, said: ‘Although the helpline is not offered to respond only to safeguarding concerns, the fact that individuals can speak to someone in the language that they are most comfortable with, means that they have a better opportunity to express themselves and state their needs.
‘The shared language also means that they are more likely to be truly understood and therefore in a better position to achieve their requirements, including those that might warrant a safeguarding response.’
Helpline contact details:
Helpline Tel: 0300 222 5720 (Monday – Friday 10.30am-2.30pm)
Text No: 07537432416