Rail industry recognises Samaritans' life-saving work at Rail Staff Awards

Samaritans, Network Rail, British Transport Police and the Rail Industry Suicide Stakeholder Group were shortlisted in the Rail Team awards category at Saturday’s Rail Staff Awards.

Samaritans trainers were highly commended in the Training Team of the Year category at the awards, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Railway staff trained by Samaritans have made more than 1000 interventions in the past year as part of the ongoing suicide prevention measures on the UK’s railway network. This is a 30 per cent rise compared with the year before.

Railway suicides fell by 12 per cent last year, figures released in July 2016 by the Rail Safety Standards Board showed.

Scott Paton also received the Samaritans Life Saver award at the ceremony held at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. Scott, who is a Performance Manager for Abellio Greater Anglia, performed a life-saving intervention with colleague Becky Topping near a station in their region.

Scott, who has taken part in Samaritans Managing Suicidal Contacts training, approached and helped a vulnerable man, which enabled him to be taken to a place of safety. Scott said Samaritans training course gave him the skills and confidence so that he knew what to do.

The awards are an acknowledgement of the suicide prevention programme and a culture of care which has assimilated throughout the railway family during a six-year partnership.

Ian Stevens, who manages the Suicide Prevention Programme on behalf of Network Rail and the wider rail industry, said: “The RISSG is a collective force for good that works incredibly hard to create a culture of care within the rail industry.  This award is further evidence of this culture disseminating through the industry.  Through the programme RISSG members seek to empower members numbering two hundred thousand people, breaking down barriers and diluting taboos inside and outside their immediate environment where people believe suicide can be prevented.”

Mark Smith, Head of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health at British Transport Police, said: “It is fantastic to have that work recognised and I want to thank every officer, colleague and partner who has been involved. That support is invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work together towards preventing suicide.”

Ola Rzepczynska, Samaritans’ Strategic Programme Manager said: “Our team at Samaritans has finessed both courses over the last six years to an offering that’s been responsible for the training of 13,000 staff and counting.  That’s quite a legacy and one we’re very proud of.

“Samaritans are delighted to have sponsored the Lifesaver Award for the sixth year in a row. We have been working with the rail industry since 2010 on the suicide prevention programme and have delivered our suicide prevention courses to 11,000 staff, giving them the tools to be able to help vulnerable and potentially suicidal people on the network. 

“All of these individuals have proved that having the courage and taking the time to talk and listen to someone in need can make a real difference to that person’s life. It is fantastic that we have been able to recognise the huge positive difference that rail industry staff have been making on the network at the Rail Staff awards this year, and we hope to continue doing so in years to come.”

Samaritans has also recently won the CSR  project of the year at The Charity Times Awards.   

The partnership’s use of 360 video content for Samaritans We Listen campaign has been nominated for an innovative marketing award in the Drum Content Awards, with winners announced in November.

Picture Caption: Winners: Scott Paton of Abellio Greater Anglia with his Samaritans Life Saver award, and Ola Rzepczynska, Samaritans Strategic Programme Manager for the rail industry partnership.

For more information, images and interviews, please contact press@samaritans.org or call 020 8394 8300.

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Notes to Editors