How the Helpline Works

What happens when you phone us for help.

First Contacts

We have a rota of ten brothers and sisters which we call "First Contacts". They are on duty for a week at a time and incoming calls are redirected to their CSN mobile phone.  Mobile signals can be unreliable, so if the call drops please call back as for safeguarding and confidentiality reasons we do not call you without having gained your specific agreement to call.

Though we would like to provide 24/7 coverage, since we rely on volunteers this is not always possible and so voicemail messages may be left which will be followed up within a few hours. We recognise that you may not wish to leave a voicemail with your personal details or may not be in circumstances where it is not safe to receive a call-back at an unplanned time of day, in which case we would ask you to call again.  If your situation is critical and you need immediate support, please contact Samaritans direct on 116 123 (the call is free from any phone).

Your call to CSN will be treated in confidence subject to our confidentiality statement and you can be anonymous if you prefer.

Our volunteers that take phone calls are there to listen and support you. 

Second Contacts

The first contacts have access to our database of “second contacts”: brothers and sisters with a wealth of experience, personal and professional, together with knowledge and skills that they have offered to help. With your consent the first contact will arrange an introduction to a brother or sister who can offer appropriate support. The process is for the First Contact to call the Second Contact to check they are available and to obtain permission to pass to you their phone number.

You are then in a position to seek further help from that second contact.

Email Help

This follows a similar process to the phone helpline. Your email comes to a confidential mail account of a committee member having email counselling skills and will be acknowledged within 24 hours.

If it emerges that you know or are known to the contact, please make this known and you will be given the choice of referral to another first contact.