United Way is getting extra funding to keep phones running, helping Manitobans in need.

Families Minister Rochelle Squires says $510,000 will be going to the charity to keep is 211 programs going for one more year.

"We know 211 is a valuable resource for Manitoba families, especially so during the pandemic. More than 6,500 Manitobans from across the province have been able to access the right help at the right time since the launch of 211 phone service in October," United Way's CEO, Connie Walker says.

Announced last fall, the service in Manitoba began as a website and quickly picking up a phone number in the process. The service connects people to community supports in their areas such as food banks or addiction help. 211 received a video of support from the Prime Minister when they launched.

"As we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we mobilize quickly and work together, and 211 is another tool to help us coordinate our efforts to protect Manitobans," Squires says.

Squires is recommending front-line workers use the service to seek supports such as for mental health.

The minister is optimistic 211 will reduce the burden on other telephone services such as 911 and 311.