Ruth Sutherland, CEO, Samaritans has been recognised in the prestigious Queen’s New Year Honours list for her services to vulnerable people.
The New Year Honours recognises dedicated people who have made significant achievements in public life or committed themselves to helping Britain. Ruth will join the esteemed likes of actress Wendy Craig, DJ Annie Nightingale and screenwriter Steven Knight, who will also pick up CBE awards for services to their country next year.
Ruth’s ambition to help others has driven her forty-year vocation in third sector and public sector roles. Building a career in the NHS, starting as a carer and nurse, she went onto secure senior leadership positions at major UK charities including Rethink Mental Illness, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope and Relate before joining the leading suicide prevention charity as CEO in 2015.
Ruth said: “I feel really happy to be recognised for the honour and to be among so many people making positive change. Social justice has been a passion of mine.
“My entire career has been spent working with people who are marginalised and more vulnerable than others, including people with poor mental health and disabilities and people in crisis. I hope that this work has contributed to change and address social injustice. I feel as passionate as ever that change for good is possible and worth working for.
“At Samaritans, the work I set out to do has been centred around making the service relevant and accessible to future generations and hard to reach groups hand in glove with developing the influence we can exert to tackle the big challenges of social isolation, poverty, broken relationships and emotional health problems. I believe we are on the right path to achieve this ambition.
“I feel really pleased for the recognition, particularly as I never set out to achieve such an accolade. If I was my younger self looking forward, I never would have imagined that I would be in the place I’m in now. It’s a brilliant way to start a new chapter in my life as the door with Samaritans closes and a new one opens.”
Jenni McCartney, Chair of Samaritans said: “We are incredibly proud of Ruth for being awarded a CBE for her outstanding contribution for services to vulnerable people. She has worked tirelessly throughout her career to support vulnerable people and raise awareness of the inequalities in society and the impact this can have on peoples’ lives.
“In her time at Samaritans over the past five years, her belief in supporting and empowering people shines through every day. We are delighted that she has been granted this honour.”