BGL Group is supporting the Samaritans as part of an ongoing campaign to help mitigate the impact the pandemic is having on charities and the communities they serve.
As the country experiences its third lockdown and the darkest days of winter, the Group is donating £40,000 to help the Samaritans extend its online service, allowing it to operate 24/7.
Since March, Samaritans volunteers across the UK and Ireland have provided emotional support more than a million times via phone, email and letters. The donation will enable the charity to respond via webchat to an additional 8,000 people in need of emotional support.
Sam Gale, Corporate Account Manager, for the Samaritans said: “We’re feeling the pressure on our funding since many of our fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. On top of this, we are having to fund critical changes to our support services to adapt to the unprecedented demand and needs of our callers.
“We’re facing the biggest mental health crisis in a generation. BGL Group’s donation will allow us to expand our online chat service to revolutionise the way people seek emotional support for decades to come. This will truly ensure we are there for everyone who needs us.”
BGL has donated more than £750,000 to 183 charities since April as part of its Empower, Pledge, Donate campaign to help good causes impacted by coronavirus.
Some BGL colleagues are also volunteering at their local Samaritans branch, helping to answer calls and deliver the new online chat service.
Mark Garraghan-Moore, a customer experience coach who is a Listening Volunteer for the Samaritans in Sunderland said: “We have all had difficult times in our life and I am forever grateful to those who took time out to listen, comfort and support me when I felt at my lowest.
“Becoming a Listening Volunteer was my way of giving back. Answering a phone and hopefully making someone else feel better about themselves or to offload to without being judged is really important.”
Claire Virge, CSR and Sponsorship Manager at BGL Group, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have been mindful of the importance of positive mental wellbeing for our colleagues, our clients and their families as well as our wider community.
“We recognise the vital role charities like the Samaritans have played in the national pandemic response and we’re privileged to be able to support it in reaching 8,000 more people in need.”
BGL is also supporting the Samaritans Brew Monday on Monday, January 18. The event aims to encourage others to connect on ‘Blue Monday’ (the third Monday in January, said to be the most depressing day of the year) over a warming cup of tea and donate. You can see more details here.