The facilities available to volunteers at two North East Samaritans branches are set to improve thanks to a year-long fundraising drive by staff at regional property and energy firm The Banks Group.
Employees at the family-owned firm adopted Samaritans as their dedicated charity for 2019 and completed a range of fundraising activities and challenges through the year to raise a total of £9,500.
Around two-thirds of the money raised will help to fund building works at the charity’s Ashington and Durham City branches, which serve the whole of Northumberland and County Durham respectively.
The remainder will go towards supporting Samaritans’ ongoing commitment to providing a safe place for people to talk, at any time, about whatever’s getting to them.
Lynn Brooks, Director of Durham Samaritans and Liz Dicken, Director of Ashington Samaritans visited Banks’ headquarters to receive a cheque for £9,500 and to meet some of those who had been involved with the fundraising drive.
Lynn Brooks says: “We have been completely bowled over by the support shown to Samaritans by the staff from the Banks Group.
“A group of our volunteers were lucky enough to meet some of the Banks staff who participated in the Durham City Run last July and we have enjoyed sharing news of all the different fundraising activities via our @DurhamSams Twitter account”
The money was raised through a range of workplace activities across Banks’ different offices and sites, such as dress down days, raffles and cake bakes, while individuals were also sponsored to take on physical challenges including the Total Warrior event in Leeds, the Lakeland Trails Ultra 55K race, the Tour De Yorkshire Sportive cycle race and the 74-mile Cumbrian Way Ultra.
Volunteers from Samaritans reach more than 500,000 people every year via their free 116 123 phone number, their free firstname.lastname@example.org email service and via outreach work in railway stations, schools, hospitals, prisons and businesses.
The organisation has over 200 branches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including eight across Northern England, and has more than 20,000 volunteers working for it as trained listeners and in its shops.
Liz Dicken adds: “It’s fantastic that the activities and challenges carried out by Banks’ staff have resulted in funding for Durham and Ashington Samaritans, but even more importantly, they have raised awareness of our work with all of their fellow staff and supporters. We are incredibly grateful to everybody involved.”
Well over £75,000 has been raised in total over the last seven years for the Banks employees’ chosen charities, which have also included The Alzheimer’s Society, Bright Red, The Tiny Lives Trust, Integrating Children, Debra, and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Catherine Fabi, a member of The Banks Group’s charity fundraising committee, says: “Samaritans provides an invaluable service that literally saves lives every day, and it’s especially good to know that some of the money that we’ve raised will directly benefit the charity’s work in our region.”
For more information on the work of and help available from Samaritans, please visit www.samaritans.org.uk or follow @samaritans on Twitter.