The new grant from the UK’s biggest funder of community activity will allow Samaritans to further develop innovative solutions to improve both access and delivery of services.
Samaritans’ UK wide ‘There for Everyone’ project is celebrating today after being awarded £404,749 in National Lottery funding to help transform its digital capabilities that will enable them to reach and support more people in emotional distress.
It will do this through modernising the volunteer recruitment journey, empowering the wider organisation to respond positively to the changes, and accelerate the delivery of an online self-help tool for those experiencing suicidal thoughts who may not feel able to seek help via telephone.
Francis Bacon, Assistant Director of Digital Services and Change at Samaritans said:
“Samaritans is delighted to receive funding and expertise from The National Lottery Community Fund to help us meet the changing needs of people we support. We are keen to share our learning and experiences with others in the sector as we increase our digital capability. Thanks to this grant we can ensure that volunteers will continue to always be there day and night, 365 days a year and that we can complete the development of our new online self-help tool offering help to those who prefer to access support in this way.
Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide and the charity began a major change programme focussed on addressing major priorities and challenges to improve our services and help achieve this vision. The ‘There for Everyone’ programme ranges from volunteer recruitment, to how technology is used to meet the increased digital expectations of today’s society.
Samaritans is developing a range of new services, such as webchat for those who prefer to interact online, and aim to be at the forefront of organisations in the tech 4 good space improving services for users. The charity’s aim is want to reach as many people as possible who might benefit from emotional support whether through early intervention, such as through the online self-help tool being developing through this grant, or those in crisis from the direct support of its highly trained volunteers."
John Knights, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund said:
“In a digital society it’s important that charities and community organisations are not only able to adapt to be fit for the future, but can harness the power of digital to identify new opportunities to improve services to support more people. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.
“The Digital Fund was developed through a series of one-to-one interviews and workshops, with the aim to help organisations grow their digital capabilities, particularly around their operations and service delivery. It builds on The National Lottery Community Fund’s previous experience of supporting the voluntary sector’s digital transition, which extends back over a decade.
“In addition to the grant, Samaritans will benefit from being part of an ecosystem of support set up for Digital Fund grantees, made up of Doteveryone, CAST, Shift, Snook, The Dot Project, and a network of coaches and mentors. This support will range from help with recruitment and Board level engagement through to responsible tech practices, service design and data audits.
“Grantees will also collectively document and share learning between themselves and the wider sector – a key aim for The National lottery Community Fund when setting up the Digital Fund.
“Today’s announcement is also a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive.”
Notes to Editors:
About The National Lottery Community Fund
We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.
We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
Every six seconds, Samaritans responds to a call for help. Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Find out how you can support us or volunteer with us.