Cambridge Samaritans are being supported through the Covid-19 crisis, thanks to a grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons
The £2,000 grant is especially welcome as Samaritans’ fundraising ability has been reduced by the lockdown, but their local volunteers are still receiving 80 calls or more every day, which works out at one every 18 minutes.
Samaritans have used the money from the grant to reorganise their working arrangements so as to keep staff and volunteers safe, as well as increasing their capacity to respond to calls and emails by investing in new technology. They are also looking at introducing instant messaging as another way for people in distress to be able to contact them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been expensive for Cambridge Samaritans. They have already had to spend around £4,000 on antiviral wipes, sprays, hand gel and costs for changes to working practices so that their essential service can continue during the crisis period.
The grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons' charity, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
John Humpston, Director of Cambridge Samaritans said: 'We’re very grateful to Cambridgeshire Freemasons for helping to sustain the Branch during the pandemic and by extension, our service to callers. We get many calls arising from the stresses created by the virus and, with essential telephony, hygiene and social distancing changes, the grant from the Freemasons has helped us to keep going.'
Paul Ashby, from Cambridgeshire Freemasons said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Cambridge Samaritans with their hugely important work. Samaritans are the place that people can go to when they feel they have nowhere else to turn and where they will always have someone there to listen to whatever they need to say.'