A £1.175 million grant from Pears Foundation and DCMS have helped branches in England respond to the pandemic.
Samaritans branches are now better prepared than ever to help people in need of support thanks to a £1.175 million grant from Pears Foundation and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.
The first phase of funding has now been distributed to 101 branches across England, helping to install sanitizing stations, add listening booths, improve branch facilities, recruit and train new volunteers, and update IT systems which has helped keep branches operating throughout the pandemic.
The second phase of funding, from April 2021, will help even more branches build capacity to better support volunteers to be there for our callers, as lockdown measures start to lift.
Samaritans volunteers have responded to more than 2.3 million calls for help since the start of the first lockdown, and are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Julie Bentley, Samaritans CEO, said: “The Pears Foundation and DCMS grants have been a massive help, allowing branches to make vital improvements but most importantly enabling our dedicated volunteers to be there for people when they have needed us most during the pandemic.
“Samaritans has never been needed more, and we know a lot of people are currently struggling. As such, we’re hugely grateful for Pears Foundation and DCMS’ timely and generous support.”
Sir Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair, Pears Foundations, said: “We have supported Samaritans for many years and know the valuable work they do to help people in distress. It was therefore vital to ensure support was available at local level to help branches respond to the pandemic and be there for those who have most been affected.”
Susie McGowan, Samaritans Brighton Branch Director, said: “The grant has been a major contributing factor in the branch being able to stay open through the pandemic and has given us greater scope to deliver vital training during covid, as doing it face-to-face has not been possible.”
A listening volunteer at Samaritans Norwich Branch, said: “This funding has made such a difference to the branch in terms of feeling more Covid secure, especially for more senior or vulnerable volunteers.”