Penny Appeal’s Listening Lines: A History of Help and Support

At Penny Appeal, we have a long history of providing confidential support services to the most vulnerable in our society through our dedicated Listening Lines. These helplines have assisted domestic abuse victims, Afghan refugees entering the UK, and those suffering from isolation during the Covid-19 lockdowns, to name just a few. Our experienced and compassionate teams have spent over 60,000 minutes providing listening ears and impactful support to countless people, and we are proud to have been able to offer these services to those who needed them most.

Listening Line – Afghan Refugees

After conflict in Afghanistan reached breaking point in 2021, thousands of Afghan refugees fled to the UK. Charities such as Penny Appeal were on the frontline welcoming the new arrivals with cash grants, hygiene kits, prayer mats, travel cards and more during this difficult time.

For those who have been forced to leave their entire lives behind, emotional support is just as crucial as material support.

Many refugees struggled to cope after leaving loved ones behind, while others struggled to rebuild their lives and integrate into local communities. Following the conflict, thousands of Afghan refugees were still living in hotels in the UK, unable to acquire permanent accommodation, further delaying their chance for stability and comfort.

For this reason, Penny Appeal provided a confidential helpline providing emotional support to Afghan refugees and asylum seekers who had left their homes behind to seek sanctuary in the UK.

Our friendly Helpline Practitioners, fluent in Dari and Pashto, provided emotional support to both Afghan men and women, providing one-to-one support through any difficulties they experienced.

No one should suffer alone.

Listening Line – Covid-19

From the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, Penny Appeal offered a confidential Listening Line for anyone aged 18 and over.

Our active listening support service provided help and support for those concerned about the virus or how isolation was affecting their daily lives. Being asked to self-isolate, self-distancing from other people and working from home were all sources of anxiety and concern for many people, and our Listening Line was a vital service for those who needed someone to talk to.

Many of the people who contacted us were employed in clerical or administrative positions, or held positions with limited contact with other people, or were unemployed, or were living alone and otherwise dependent on assistance from family and neighbours. Most of the callers who used our service said that they felt lonely and isolated, and that their anxiety had increased since the onset of the pandemic.

The people who contacted us often talked about how important it was for them to have someone to talk to, and how helpful it was to be able to talk about their concerns without fear of being judged. Many of them said that the Listening Line had helped them to feel less stressed and more in control of their lives.

MY Helpline

Penny Appeal's Muslim Youth (MY) Helpline was a service that provided a trustworthy, confidential, and non-judgemental space for young people who need to talk. The service didn't promote or advocate any particular agenda, issue, or position on any subject matter. The young people did the talking and the service lent a listening ear and, wherever possible, a helping hand. The young people's voices were always our priority, and we offered whatever help we could.

Our priority, in the past and now, is to put young people first, to prioritise their needs, and to support their welfare and wellbeing. We look forward to continuing this crucial work through our wide array of child and education -focused programming, such as our Orphan Kind, Hifz Orphan and Education First appeals.

Domestic Abuse Helpline

Penny Appeal’s Domestic Abuse helpline offered confidential and non-judgemental support to victims and survivors of all forms of domestic abuse. Operating as part of our wider wellbeing services, the project ensured

Sofia called the helpline to discuss the domestic abuse she had been experiencing at the hands of her narcissistic partner. She detailed the emotional abuse, gaslighting and manipulation she suffered, where she was often left confused and questioning her perception of reality.

One particular incident of physical violence left Sofia in tears, as she was pregnant with her first child at the time. Sofia recalls being in excruciating pain but somehow found the strength to call an ambulance and get help following the ordeal. After her baby was born, Sofia attempted suicide.

Sofia was encouraged to share as much information as she felt comfortable with and thanked our helpline for being available to help as she had nowhere else to turn. Due to being from a BAME background, Sofia believed her parents would never understand and instead would ask her to be patient with her partner.

Our helpline supported Sofia by validating her emotions and helping her recognise the strength she had in getting herself and her children to safety. Sofia was signposted to a Talking Therapies Centre in her local area, in order to access counselling support. Sofia was also provided with the number to the crisis team should she ever have further suicidal ideations. Our helpline also informed her that she could call back during our opening hours should she need a listening ear.


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