Landmark Big Lottery funding for North London Samaritans

Samaritans in North London have been awarded more than half a million pounds from the Big Lottery Fund to go towards creating a community hub and base for its life-saving services in a dilapidated local landmark.

The £545,000 grant will help with the rebuilding of Shaftsbury Hall in Bounds Green, otherwise known as the ‘tin tabernacle’, a former Victorian church for railway workers made from corrugated iron. The building, which is now derelict, is owned by the local branch of Samaritans, one of more than two hundred across the UK and Ireland.

Volunteers still need to raise another £110,000 in the next six months for the facility, which will provide emotional support for anyone struggling to cope, whether by phone, email, text or face to face. The fully accessible space will also be available for meetings, clubs, support groups and activities for locals and the wider population of the London Borough of Hackney.

More than thirty individuals and groups are already interested in using the new Shaftsbury Hall Community Hub for everything from fitness and exercise, education, music and arts, parent and toddler groups and projects supporting those who are unemployed, as well as language classes and meetings for councillors and the local MP.

North London Samaritans volunteer and local branch director, Andrew Cox said: “Following many months of discussions, we are delighted and proud to have been given this generous grant by the Big Lottery Fund, and would like to thank them enormously. We’re also grateful to everyone in the local community, especially our potential partners who will enjoy making use of the Community Hub, for their support and enthusiasm. Life is tough and Samaritans runs almost entirely on donations and volunteers to run our services. It’s thanks to the generosity of individuals and groups that we can be there for anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed.”

If enough funds are raised, on top of the Big Lottery grant, rebuilding will begin this autumn and North London Samaritans will open their new home to the community by mid-2018.

Local business, community groups and others interested in fundraising or sponsorship opportunities for the North London Samaritans Shaftesbury Hall appeal should contact North London Samaritans on 020 8368 6789 or by emailing You can donate directly here and follow the progress of the appeal on Twitter @nl_sams.

Anyone can contact Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, call for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email, or visit to find details of your nearest branch.


The planned building

Planned set up for the North London Samaritans Shaftesbury Hall (above)


Notes to Editors

  • Three times more people in the UK die by suicide than road traffic accidents. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and of your men and women aged 20-34.
  • Samaritans runs almost entirely on donations and its services are delivered by volunteers. The new centre will allow North London Samaritans to reach more people who may be at risk, as well creating a valuable hub for the community.
  • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.The Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests more than £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 it has awarded more than £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.