Swapping her role as Receptionist at GCVS, Fran Spagnoletti is now manning phone lines for the new Glasgow Helps hub, supporting people in Glasgow through the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Hub is led by Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) in partnership with Volunteer Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership.
“Glasgow Helps was set up in response to the lockdown and the growing number of people having to self-isolate due to Covid-19. I volunteered because of my experience working with communities and the third sector. While it has been challenging at times, it is really rewarding to be able to do something for someone.”
What is your usual role and how did you get involved with Glasgow Helps?
In my day to day role, I am a Customer Services Assistant and Receptionist at GCVS.
I volunteered to work on the Help Line because of my experience of working with communities and the third sector. It gave me the chance to make a positive contribution to the work of GCVS and the organisations it supports while our offices are closed
How are you finding work on the Help Line?
It can be quite hard at times, as it is very different from my existing role.
I’ve had some lovely calls that have made me smile, and others that pull at your heartstrings. But it is so rewarding to be able to do something for someone.
Has anything struck you about the calls you’ve taken?
People calling the help line are so appreciative that there are people out there in the city who want to help. It can be overwhelming.
Some find it really hard to ask for help – perhaps because they have never had to do it before or because they think there are others who need it more.
But we all need help at some point – especially now in these unprecedented times.
What type of help do you direct people to?
We have many great resources to pull on – volunteers, community groups and individuals all over the city who just want to help and do their bit. The Mutual Aid groups have been a great source of help for all sorts of things such as delivering books, collecting shopping or prescriptions and providing free transport for hospital appointments
How have you adapted?
It has been a huge change – as I am doing a different job, working remotely and from my home. All of my family are working from home too and I’m living in my ‘office’ – so it can feel quite intense.
But GCVS has technology in place to allow us to work closely with other colleagues, so we can bounce off each other to find solutions to any asks and when we need to, we can get some support after a distressing call
What have you learned from the experience?
While it has been challenging at times, the support and enthusiasm being offered by people and their willingness to help others in any situation, has been amazing.
Glasgow Helps Helpline
The help line has already received hundreds of calls from people who are struggling financially or emotionally, who have lost their job, are dealing with COVID-19 or who are not coping with the situation. Assistance with the collection and delivery of essential medicines and access to and delivery of food have been the most common requests.
Calls are answered by staff from partner organisations and volunteers, with callers signposted to a range of charities and voluntary groups across the city who have sprung into action to offer help. A website is also available which lists organisations across the city that people can access.
Phone 0141 345 0543 (Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm)