Children’s charity Barnardo’s have launched a specialist helpline for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic families who have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
Named Boloh, the helpline offers children and families advice and support from trained specialist advisers who speak a range of languages and are from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds. Boloh also provides therapeutic support as well as a live webchat facility.
The helpline has seen advisers support children calling with worries about the future due to school disruption, mental health and wellbeing problems, coping with sickness and bereavement as well as money worries due to unemployment.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “With the UK still firmly in the grip of this killer virus, vulnerable children and families from communities bearing the brunt of the crisis are in desperate need of specialist support.
“I know from personal experience that families in Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to White people, while economic factors are worsening existing inequalities.
“And the calls we receive on the Boloh helpline show just how difficult it has been for families from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Our advisers have been helping people cope with an overwhelming number of deaths, unemployment, increased stress and mental health difficulties and poverty. The helpline is providing a lifeline as it is reaching the neediest and providing them with much needed support.
“I fear these problems will only increase in the coming months so am reminding people about Boloh and letting them know they don’t have to suffer in silence.
“Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people. In these uniquely challenging times we are working in partnership with Government, business and other charities to support those who need us most.”
The helpline number is 08001 512605 and is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 8pm and on weekends between 10am and 3pm.
For more information and to use the webchat facility, visit https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk.