A life saving project aiming to reduce the number of people who die by suicide across the UK is one of two initiatives to benefit from the Big Lottery Fund, it was announced this week.
Samaritans received £1.4 million to run a pilot project to offer a free-to-caller helpline in ten deprived communities across the UK, targeting hard to reach groups, in particular middle aged men who tend to delay seeking help.
The focus of the project comes following a major piece of research produced by Samaritans in 2012 entitled ‘Men and Suicide: Why it’s a social issue’. It concluded that people are ten times more likely to die by suicide if they are men from low socio-economic background.
By piloting a Freecall telephone service in low-income areas and conducting a communication campaign aimed at high risk groups, specifically men, this project will aim to address the issues highlighted in the research.
“Although Samaritans’ does not charge for its services, a person having to pay for the cost of a call may prevent them from contacting us when they need us most,” said Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans. “By developing a sustainable free-to-caller service, we are taking the positive steps in increasing the access to life saving help.”
Media Trust that owns and runs the national television Community Channel is the other group chosen this week by the Big Lottery to receive £1.9 million to start a new three-year campaign. They will support charities in promoting their work and reaching out to new audiences in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Media Trust uses media and communications to amplify the reach of charities and community groups to maximise their impact, according to Chief Executive Caroline Diehl.
(READ more from the Big Lottery Fund)