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LifeLine Christchurch has gone to the Dogs, thanks to Fletc

LifeLine Christchurch has gone to the Dogs, thanks to Fletcher

With Fletcher on hand, blindness proves no barrier to counselling

LifeLine Christchurch is a free 24/7 telephone helpline which takes over 15,000 crisis calls per year. The free service is only possible with the commitment of a strong team of over 100 intensively trained volunteer telephone counsellors.

New Volunteer Telephone Counsellor Petronella and her guide dog, Fletcher have teamed-up to create a first counselling “awesome pawsome” at LifeLine. This success can be attributed to LifeLine and The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).

Petronella lost her sight in 1992 from an eye disease. Fletcher, her second RNZFB dog, has been with her a year. They trained together at LifeLine, graduating from the course with flying colours. Fletcher is now a regular in the counselling booths.

The LifeLine team is thrilled that new technology has enabled anyone with a vision impairment to become a volunteer counsellor. “Healthy, stable applicants who have excellent self-care skills are always needed. It’s great to be able to reflect in our volunteers the diversity of the local community. Do apply. Don’t be shy. Even challenges like blindness ARE no barrier if you have what it takes” says LifeLine CEO Martin Clark.

“All of us could benefit from counselling skills training. People need you. The professional counselling skills training LifeLine provides is highly valued.”

Petronella says “While training at LifeLine I have learnt more about myself and how to help others with issues of everyday life.” Petronella is also looking forward to the on-going training with a “fantastic” group of people and helping out the local community this way. Fletcher himself is “very chilled” and great to pat after a tough call. “I get lots of attention but more or less just do what I am told…” says he.

Phone Counsellor Trainings are in February and August. An information evening will be held 6.00pm on January 30th, and details can be found at or by phoning the office on 366 6742. We need new volunteers now so come along to our information evening. You can do it. Don’t be shy. Blindness proved no barrier. No maximum age. You can help. In fact, people need your help.

Relationships Aotearoa is one organisation who endorse LifeLine, understanding the value of the service and will often recommend clients to keep the LifeLine number handy as part of their on-going management plan.

Email counselling has proven popular with those who prefer not to use the phone. Both services are confidential, anonymous and free. LifeLine is an independent charitable trust and is supported by generous community organisations, philanthropic trusts and local donors. It is a well-established volunteer organisation of 48 years, operating as a free health and wellbeing community service.

LifeLine telephone counselling is available 24/7 on 366 6743 or 0800 54 33 54. Free email counselling on


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