“At Shout, we work with an army of amazing Volunteers. Every day, they support people in times of need but it’s important to remember that they also need support too — whether that’s from revisiting their training resources regularly so they’re always up-to-date with new and important concepts, getting support unpicking challenges, or feeling a sense of connection with fellow Volunteers. Hive Learning helps us deliver learning in a scalable, agile, and actionable way. Their peer learning approach has truly helped us unlock the power of our Volunteers, scaling the support we are able to offer them and creating a real sense of belonging amongst our Volunteer community.”
Victoria Hornby, CEO, Shout 85258
Launched in May 2019 by the Royal Foundation, using the tried and tested technology platform of US Crisis TextLine, Shout 85258 helps people who are struggling to cope by providing free 24/7 text support. Since they started the service, Shout has taken more than 650,000 conversations at a rate of 1,300 conversations a day.
Shout helps texters with issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness and suicidal thoughts, as well as more broad things like parenting, relationship problems and bereavement. Shout’s accessibility is part of the reason it’s been so successful. Many people feel more comfortable using the discreet, confidential and silent nature of text to communicate about issues they wouldn’t speak aloud. More than half of texters feel like they have nobody else to talk to and over a third have never spoken to anyone else about their issues before.
In order to help texters in need, Shout is powered by a community of amazing Volunteers nationwide in the UK, and in New Zealand where Shout Volunteers ensure that the service can run through the night. Shout Volunteers are trained in essential skills to help them support someone in need by having a conversation with them. The framework that Shout Volunteers use is extremely effective — 86% of texters say the conversation they had with a Shout Volunteer was helpful.
To meet Shout’s objectives to grow the service and maintain the quality of service provided to texters, they needed to give Shout Volunteers:
1) a way to continue learning once their initial training was complete and stay up to date.
2) a sense of community where they could access each other for support and guidance.
Shout chose Hive Learning because it helped their Volunteers in a few ways.
It meant Shout Volunteers could access their initial training resources in a bite-sized and engaging format, any time they needed them. Plus, the peer learning features also meant that users could share their own challenges, reflections, and experiences of putting things they’d learned into practice. These comments then become evergreen, so anyone going through the training at any time can come back and learn from their peers’ experiences.
Hive Learning’s platform complements the support that all Shout Volunteers get from their Coach and from Shout’s clinical psychologists because it gives Volunteers a space that’s dedicated to peer learning. In the Hive Learning platform, Shout Volunteers can share advice, best practice and tips related to their role, like swapping first shift experiences and talking about specific texter topics like gender identity or intersectionality.
What’s more, this helps Shout quickly spot areas Volunteers might need more help with and add that to their training. And in many cases, Volunteers help one another solve those challenges before Shout needs to step in.
Within two months of using Hive Learning’s platform, Shout Volunteers were actively supporting each other through over 1,800 posts and comments of people asking questions and sharing ideas. Shout Volunteers generally never meet their peers in person and having some kind of ongoing support digitally has been vital for new Volunteers who might be nervous about having their first conversation with a texter.
More recently, the number of texters using Shout’s service almost doubled from 750 to 1,400 a day during the pandemic. This made things even tougher for the Shout Volunteer community who were dealing with this increased demand from the public for someone to listen and support them through their struggles, all while facing their own isolation dispersed right across the UK.
While Shout supports the UK population who turn to them when they need it, its volunteers are able to turn to each other whenever they’re in need of support or advice, too.
Shout Volunteers can now instantly refresh themselves on their training and reconnect to their volunteering, no matter how often they’re able to volunteer.
The platform’s ability to get instant messages out to Shout’s entire community of Volunteers has been a vital part of supporting both texters and Volunteers when they need it most.
Shout Volunteers have access to evergreen content on Hive Learning’s platform to refresh them on their training after periods of inactivity. Content is bite-sized which makes it easy to read and immediately useful for Shout Volunteers who are busy with life and work commitments outside of their volunteering.
By having everyone connected in one place and reachable through desktops, tablets and phones, Shout can keep their Volunteers up to date with timely content. This has been pivotal in helping Shout prepare for common mental health themes like loneliness at Christmas.
Through rapid communication with the Shout Volunteers on the Hive Learning platform, Shout can rally its Volunteers who can quickly jump on to the service and be ready to respond to an influx of texts, known as ‘spikes’, triggered by real world events like the news of British TV presenter Caroline Flack’s suicide, which drove texts up by 30%. Throughout the pandemic, Shout has been able to keep agile and respond at speed to lockdown announcements and an increase in texters using Shout’s service.
Businesses often hesitate at the thought of allowing learners to comment but the Shout community proves that giving learners a space to come together and reflect is invaluable. For a role that can be challenging, conversations on Hive Learning’s platform help unlock and share the tacit knowledge that some Shout Volunteers have built through hundreds of hours of volunteering. Learning content is available to every Volunteer in a few clicks, though learners report that the richest learning experiences happen during lightly facilitated conversations.
Anyone is able to ask a question to the enormous community of Shout Volunteers who are connected on the Hive Learning platform. Thanks to the capability to create your own groups, Shout Volunteers can just as easily be purposeful about building relationships in localized and specialized networks, as they can send out a question to a wider family of thousands and get a response from other Volunteers or Shout Coaches within minutes.
The Hive Learning platform has helped Shout Volunteers feel involved in Shout events regardless of where they are in the country. Shout Volunteers are able to catch up on event highlights on the platform in their own time.
When Shout was unable to celebrate its one-year anniversary in person in May 2020 as a result of the pandemic, Hive Learning’s platform was used to host a week-long digital festival. In one centralized place, Shout Volunteers could attend daily lunch and learns, webinars and Q&As from the Shout team; take part in interactive challenges; and receive thank you messages from key partners and donors.
The buzz of the festival was more successful than we could have imagined with Shout Volunteers logging in on an average of 16 times over the week and sharing over 1,700 posts and comments.
Today, the Hive Learning platform gives Shout Volunteers instant access to refresher learning content whenever they need it, as well as an active support network of peers across the country from Scotland to Cornwall. This network builds belonging for Shout Volunteers through a community that they can come back to time and again.
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