The suicide prevention charity Samaritans launches ‘Real People, Real Stories’ campaign

The suicide prevention charity Samaritans has shared new research on how lockdown measures have affected men, as they launch their Real People, Real Stories campaign, supported by the rail industry.


Real People, Real Stories will run until 27 September and aims to reach men aged 18-59 years and above who are feeling low and struggling to cope. Men who have found life tough, experienced depression or suicidal thoughts have written words of support to other men and these will feature in films, shared across social media, radio, buses and TV.


The charity surveyed almost 2,000 men aged 18 to 59 to find out how the pandemic restrictions have affected their mental health and support networks. 42% of the men questioned felt that the restrictions have had a negative impact on their mental health, with loneliness and/or isolation, anxiety, financial worries and separation from loved ones among their concerns.


Despite some men saying that they find it hard to talk to someone about the way they are feeling when they are struggling, almost half (40%) said that talking to others helped with concerns and worries they had during lockdown, showing the importance of seeking help and getting support when they need it. 


Steve lives in Walsall and became a Samaritans volunteer following the death of his stepson who took his own life, leaving the family in devastation. He is one of thousands across the country that found themselves without a job in lockdown.


“Two days before lockdown was announced, I was made redundant, which came as a massive blow as I’d been with the company for twenty odd years and I thought that it would be my last job before retirement. I realised that I had to try and adapt and keep myself stimulated. As a volunteer for Samaritans, I’m lucky enough to have friends at the branch to talk to and support me. If you’re isolated and lonely and you’re finding this time difficult then share that. Whether it’s with friends or by calling Samaritans, I believe that talking really can change your life.”



Over half of men (56%) that the charity spoke to said that they are feeling worried or anxious as restrictions continued to ease and are concerned about the future, highlighting the need for appropriate support now, so no one has to face things alone.


Samaritans Executive Director of External Affairs, Paul McDonald said: “This pandemic has brought unexpected change and uncertainty, which will have a lasting impact on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. At Samaritans we know that less well off, middle-aged men have remained the highest risk group for suicide in the UK for decades and that the restrictions put in place during lockdown such as isolation and disconnection will have exacerbated problems for these men.


We understand the value of listening and the power of human connection, particularly at this time when so many people are dealing with overwhelming thoughts and feelings. We know that sharing stories of recovery does encourage men to seek help, so we hope that our Real People, Real Stories campaign can help other men to see that they can do it too and know that Samaritans is always there when they want to talk.”



‘Together We Run’ is a new fundraising challenge from East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA)

Together We Run is a new fundraising challenge from East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) which is encouraging the people of East Anglia to pledge miles towards a collective 2,000 mile target.  


EAAA normally organises several mass participation challenge events throughout the year, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to help keep its yellow helicopters flying and saving lives. These events cannot go ahead this year, so the charity is asking its supporters to take part in Together We Run instead, a virtual fundraising challenge from 14 – 20 September, to run (or walk) a combined 2,000 miles, wherever and whenever suits them.  


If successful, this virtual running event could become a regular addition to the charity’s event calendar, along with its Only the Brave muddy obstacle run and Trek 24 walking challenges. 


The 2,000 mile target has been chosen as EAAA was established in September 2000, twenty years ago. EAAA does not receive regular government funding and relies on the generosity and kindness of local people to save lives – with 17,000 local people already having received help.  


Signing up to take part in Together We Run is a simple way to help celebrate this milestone for the charity – and for East Anglia – at a time when we can’t physically come together. Participants can walk or run as much or as little as they like, and are encouraged to submit their activity using exercise tracking app, Strava.   


To add an extra element of fun to this challenge, there will also be four Together We Run teams, headed up by members of the EAAA crew. Team points will be awarded not just on the number of miles completed per team, but also for every pound raised to help keep the EAAA crews airborne and saving lives. 


Doctor Pam Chrispin explains: “It’s really simple. We can’t fly without community support and donations, and we’re incredibly lucky to have been here for 20 years already. We’re really excited to be organising our first virtual challenge event to ensure that our fundraising can carry on safely this year, so I encourage everyone to take part – even if it’s just walking one or two miles. Your support will help to keep our yellow helicopters flying and saving lives.”


Events Manager, Leanne Kershaw, added:“It’s been a really busy few months at EAAA. Our crews haven’t missed a shift and have been working around the clock, with new procedures and PPE to keep them and our patients safe, and we’ve sadly had to cancel or postpone all of our planned fundraising events for this year.’


‘But, we really wanted to be able to find a way to still bring people together, especially as we are about to reach our 20th anniversary milestone, and we know we simply wouldn’t be here without the fantastic community which keeps us flying. So, please join us in September to collectively walk or run 2,000 miles to celebrate saving lives together for the last twenty years.” 


For more information and to sign up, go to



Shaw Trust is growing to meet demand for its services


Shaw Trust, the largest charitable organisation in the employability sector, is growing to meet demand for its services. Expanding its workforce to support people affected by the pandemic, the charity has specialised in helping young people and adults into work for more than 30 years. 


In the past few months, the UK has seen more than 185,000 redundancies announced. Household names and major retailers have reconsidered how they will work in the future, and for many, this has meant fewer jobs for people working in retail, hospitality, travel and leisure.


Shaw Trust supports people through a range of national and local government funded programmes, including the Work and Health Programme. To help more people, many of these programmes are being expanded. As a result, Shaw Trust is seeking to grow its own staff number by 25% or around 600 new employees in the next 12 months.


The majority of these roles will be directly working with people to support them into employment. Initially working from home using virtual technology, the roles are mainly based in London, the Midlands, central and east of England, and the home counties.


Speaking about the opportunities, Mark Earl, Chief People Officer at Shaw Trust, commented: “At Shaw Trust we are a values-led organisation, we put those we support at the heart of everything we do. So for us, when we are recruiting the most important attribute we look for in a candidate is their commitment to our purpose.


“We have great training and development in-house available, so can help candidates master the skills needed, but we can’t make someone want to work with people, or teach someone to be customer focused. Therefore we are calling out to anyone who has worked in hospitality, retail or similar sectors with the public to take a look at what we can offer.”


Shaw Trust offers full time, part time and job share roles, allowing for flexibility. Good benefits including personal development, volunteer days and employee progression are available and in a recent staff survey 95% of Shaw Trust staff felt supported by their line managers.


To view Shaw Trust’s current live vacancies visit



Charity shops could be vital to the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

Charity shops could be vital to the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by helping people save money, shop sustainably and fund charitable services, according to new insight from the British Heart Foundation

The survey shows that almost one in three UK adults (29%) feel that charity shops are more important to society following Covid-19, while four in ten (40%) agree that being sustainable and thinking about the environment when they shop is more important than before. 

Of those who think charity shops will be more important for society,  almost three quarters said this was because charity shops provide affordable items to those with financial concerns whilst Almost seven in ten (68%) say it’s because they raise funds for charitable causes at a time many of these causes are in high demand. 


Waste was also a key concern with olver half saying charity shops are vital because they prevent items from being thrown away. 


The figures also suggest that charity shops could be particularly beneficial for younger people conscious of costs and the environment.  Almost a fifth (19%) of respondents aged 25-34 said they will be more likely to shop in charity shops after the pandemic than before, compared to only 6% of respondents aged 55+.  


Last year alone, thanks to the generosity of public donations to British Heart Foundation shops, we charity was able to help reuse an incredible 71,000 tonnes of items and prevent 135,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. 


Allison Swaine-Hughes, our Retail Director commented: “This pandemic has been devastating for so many of us and the reopening of charity shops is going to be vital for millions as we look to recover. Charity shops provide high quality items at affordable prices, power charitable services that have never been more in demand, reuse thousands of tonnes of items and provide a community space for so many volunteers and customers.” 


 “Every pound raised in our shops helps us to support the 7.4 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases, many of whom are at increased risk from Covid-19. Shopping at the BHF will help us, help them.” 


At the end of March, the charity was forced to shut 750 nationwide shops in order to protect staff, volunteers and customers. Since that time, the charity’s funding budget has been reduced by £50 million pounds meaning research into heart and circulatory disease cannot be performed.  


Visiting your local BHF or donating to the charity is one way to ensure this life-saving research is able to continue. You can find out more at  


London Marathon confirms plans for The 40th Race on Sunday 4 October 2020

After months of intensive work and consultation with London’s authorities, organisers of the London Marathon confirmed the plans for The 40th Race on Sunday 4 October 2020.

Elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes will take place on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a secure biosphere (a contained safe environment like that of Formula 1 and England cricket) and times will be eligible for Olympic qualification.

Everyone with a place in the 2020 event will still have the chance to take part in The 40th Race by running the famous 26.2 mile marathon distance from home or anywhere in the world on the course of their choice. All finishers will receive the coveted finisher medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt. In addition, all runners and charities will also be able to defer their place to a future London Marathon – in 2021, 2022 or 2023.

In 2021, the London Marathon will move from its usual April date to Sunday 3 October to give the best chance for the mass race to return in 2021.

“We have been working for months on a number of different scenarios with the health and safety of our runners, our charities, our sponsors, our volunteers, our medics, our communities and our city always our priority,” said Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon. 

“We had detailed plans to deliver a socially distanced mass participation event – either a run or a walk – and we were planning to utilise new technology to do this. We were looking to use a revolutionary technology using Bluetooth and ultra wideband ranging, which is about to be launched worldwide.

“This would have enabled us to accurately monitor every participant’s distance from each other, work out if the participant spent more than 15 minutes within 1.5 metres (or any distance we set) of anyone else and then contact them post-event if anyone had informed us that they had contracted Covid-19 in the two weeks after the event.

“Despite all our efforts, the fantastic support from all of our partners and the progress that has been made on planning for the return of smaller mass participation events that are not on the roads, it has not been possible to go ahead with a mass socially distanced walk or run.

“In parallel with the work on the plans for the socially distanced mass event, we had a team working on planning the elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes in a biosphere environment in St James’s Park and another team creating a truly inspiring Virgin Money London Marathon which means participants across the UK and abroad can still be part of The 40th Race from their home or wherever they might be on 4 October.”

Participants in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will have 24 hours to complete the 26.2 miles, from 00:00 to 23:59 on Sunday 4 October. They can run, walk, take breaks and log their race on a new London Marathon app being developed by event partner TCS. Runners can also use their time, with appropriate supporting evidence, to apply for a Good for Age or Championship place in 2021.

“We know how disappointing it is that the Covid-19 pandemic means that it’s not possible this year to run the famous course on the streets of London,” said Brasher. “But we’re offering everyone who has a place this year, or who had already deferred to April 2021, the chance to participate in The 40th Race and every eligible runner also has the chance to run on the streets of London in 2021, 2022 or 2023. If existing runners do not want to take part in The 40th Race, we will be offering their places to other runners who would like to raise vital funds for charity.”

In 2019, the Virgin Money London Marathon raised a world record £66.4 million for good causes. Current estimates are that the charity sector is facing a funding shortfall of £10 billion at a time when services are needed more than ever. 

Runners with a place in The 40th Race, or who had already deferred to April 2021, will be able to confirm they still wish to run the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon from Wednesday 12 August.



Children’s charity ‘Action Medical Research’ has announced a call for research into COVID-19 and its potential impacts in children and young people.

Children’s charity Action Medical Research has announced a call for research into COVID-19 and its potential impacts in children and young people.

Launching its call for research applications, alongside a £1 million fundraising appeal, the charity hopes to help address some key questions around the experience of children during the pandemic. These include why some children with COVID-19 get so sick whilst others don’t and how we can better understand treatments for children, as well as the wider impact of the crisis on children’s mental health. 


Although children are not considered to be most at risk from coronavirus, some children are still vulnerable and COVID-19 has caused severe illness and loss of life for children across the world.  Children who have underlying health conditions, such as severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, obesity and diabetes, are at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19. Children with weak or compromised immune systems may also be at higher risk of catching the virus and of developing severe disease. 


Director of Research at the charity Dr Tracy Swinfield explains: “Medical research is underway to help beat COVID-19 but there is a lack of research specifically focusing on children and how the virus and the pandemic affects them. As a child health charity, we want to support research that aims to fill this gap.” 


Building on its track record of funding high quality research that saves and changes children’s lives, Action has brought together an expert advisory group of leading children’s health researchers. The group has helped guide how the charity can best fund research in this important area. 


“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected children in ways we could never have predicted. New research is urgently needed to better understand the short and long-term impact of infection in the general population, and why certain children are particularly vulnerable.” says Professor David Rowitch, Head of Paediatrics at the University of Cambridge, who is part of the advisory group. 


To fund this work, the charity has launched a £1 million COVID-19 appeal. 


Dr Swinfield continues: “As a charity set up nearly seven decades ago to help beat polio, our track record of success includes helping to develop the Hib vaccine for meningitis and helping to test the rubella vaccine. Our funding also helped to develop the use of ultrasound scanning in pregnancy. Today, we continue our fight to fund top quality medical research to save the lives of babies, children and young people. We are forging ahead to help better understand the impact of COVID-19 in children.” 


To find out more the work of Action Medical Research and donate head to


Charity ‘Held In Our Hearts’ launches a new awareness campaign focussing on acts of kindness 

Held In Our Hearts – a specialist bereavement charity helping parents who have lost a child – have launched a new awareness campaign focussing on acts of kindness  for the month of August. 

They are calling on their local Edinburgh community to share their own kindness locally, encouraging people to join in by doing acts of kindness for a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague in August.

Since lockdown, the charity has  been encouraged to see that more families have been coming forward for support (including those that are long ago bereaved) and are being more open to sharing about their loss and the trauma that they have experienced.

Through their specialist bereavement support, Held In Our Hearts know how essential it is for families to be open and talk to one another and be met with kindness.   Now more than ever, we feel that it is so important for everyone to be mindful of their mental health and they hope that the “K for Kindness” campaign will help share a wave of positivity in the community and encourage more kindness and more openness with each other.

Nicola Welsh, Chief Executive Officer says: “We witness the power of kindness and compassion every day in our work. When a baby dies, it is the kindness and compassion from our bereaved staff that holds families and helps when they feel alone in their grief.”

As we begin to step out of lockdown, we might feel a little fragile and vulnerable and although we cannot hug freely yet, we can give of ourselves and do acts of kindness to make others smile.  Giving to others is good for the soul and you just never know how much someone else might need that kindness that day, especially at the moment.” 

The charity hopes that  “K for Kindness” will help us raise awareness of our work and spread some much needed positivity through the community.”

The charity have organised and delivered a series of popular and fun virtual challenges through April, May, June and July, helping to keep their community connected and raise essential funds for their work.

In July, the #PassTheK challenge was set for their running and cycling community, which has supporters take up the baton and ‘PassTheK’ to reach our neighbours down under in Brisbane, Australia, 16,313km away. In total they managed just over 20,000k!

In order to take part, you simply need to do an Act of Kindness, share with a picture on social media and tag a friend to do the same with #KforKindness.



The charity Shelter is urging the government to give hard-pressed families a way out of private renting

Nearly one in five (17%) private renting parents – equivalent to 458,000 adults – are now more concerned their family will become homeless as a result of the Covid crisis, new research from Shelter shows. 


The new polling carried out by YouGov for Shelter, revealed parents living in privately rented homes are almost twice as likely to be worried about homelessness than parents living in secure social homes (9%). This demonstrates just how precarious private renting is, and the stark difference that access to a stable social home can have.  


But as the country moves tentatively out of lockdown, the chronic lack of social housing has left struggling families with few options to escape the insecurity of private renting. In fact, a third of parents who rent from a private landlord (926,000 adults) feel more negative about their long-term housing situation. 


The housing charity’s research suggests this negative outlook and fears of homelessness are not unfounded for some private renting parents, with:   49,000 (2%) having to resort to using food banks since lockdown, 429,000 (15%) cutting back on food to help pay their rent since lockdown and. And 550,000 (20%) taking on debt (such as overdrafts, credit cards, payday loans or borrowing money from the bank / family & friends) to help pay their rent since lockdown. 


Shelter is urging the government to give these hard-pressed families a way out of private renting, and the chance of a stable social home they can afford. So far, the government has only offered a stamp duty cut, which will be of no help to most renters who are ruled out of homeownership due to a lack of savings. The government’s own figures show that 73% of private renting families have no savings at all. 


Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Families are going hungry and taking on risky debt to pay private rent, and yet for too many even these sacrifices won’t be enough to avoid homelessness. These parents need a way out of living hand to mouth, but so far, the government has offered them no alternative to private renting. This must change if we are ever going to build this country back better.  


“As rescue and recovery packages roll in, the government needs to prioritise building safe homes that everyone can afford. Cuts to stamp duty are not a solution when you’re struggling to keep a roof over your head, and terrified of becoming homeless at the hands of this crisis. Many renting families will feel like they’ve been sold down the river without a paddle.  


“But not all hope is lost. There is still time to build a better future that benefits everyone and not just a lucky few. The government can step in and show it cares about these families, by building social homes. Not in five or ten-years’ time, but now. By accelerating spending on social housebuilding, it can rapidly deliver the safe homes so many families are crying out for.”  

Shelter urgently needs donations and support


‘Impact Lebanon’ is working tirelessly to support people affected by the blast in Beirut

On the fourth of August, a massive explosion hit Beirut, Lebanon. Since then, Impact Lebanon – a nonprofit organisation focussing on community organisation, has worked tirelessly to support people affected by the blast and its aftermath. 

A fundraiser was launched with the  hope of providing some relief, but the level of support was unexpected. Both the Lebanese community and the global community reached out. Within minutes, over £1 million had been raised. 

Impact Lebanon is a non-profit organisation that brings the community together to pursue initiatives that deliver impact for Lebanon. 

As the donations were pouring in, Impact Lebanon worked on establishing the best ways for selecting the right NGOs to send their donations to with a focus on transparency and accountability. 

By partnering with 3QA, a third-party quality assurance organization based in Beirut, to support the due diligence and monitoring process for funded organisations. 

Impact Lebanon has been working to vet NGOs and their suitability to receive funding. Importantly, those receiving Impact Lebanon’s funding must be apolitical and non-sectarian, that they are registered and recognised, that they have have ongoing initiatives to address the crisis. Also, they must pass an audit test and submit a project proposal. 

You can support Impact Lebanon’s by donating to their fundraising efforts. Additionally, you can head to their website and find out more about their existing initiatives 


Culture Equality

Heart of England Community Foundation and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 have joined forces to provide a boost to organisations and individual artists

Awaiting details of the Government’s £1.57bn arts sector funding package, Heart of England Community Foundation and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 have joined forces to provide a much-needed boost to organisations and individual artists across Coventry and Warwickshire.


The Foundation and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 – which is currently working on a host of exciting events across the board of music, theatre and cultural heritage – have awarded more than £56,000 to 95 organisations and individuals in the region.


Launched just after the Foundation’s own Coronavirus Resilience Fund, the Coventry 2021 Coronavirus Resilience Fund was dedicated to supporting arts organisations and individuals based in Coventry and Warwickshire with grants up to £1,000.


Aimed at helping those whose futures were in a very vulnerable position, the fund has given those in the sector a greater chance of making it through one of the most challenging times that the industry has ever faced.


As a vital string to Coventry and Warwickshire’s cultural bow, the region is home to a variety of arts organisations and charities, which often provide a variety of opportunities for community engagement. Vanny Radio, a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, community internet-based radio located in Coventry, is just one of the 95 organisations to receive a £1,000 grant from the fund. Other recipients include Breakdots, which was awarded £500 and Arty-Folks, which received £1,000.


“During these hard times when our own financial security hangs in the balance, Heart of England and the Coventry City of Culture came to our rescue at the right time when we needed help the most, by awarding us £1000 from the Coronavirus Resilience Fund to keep our organisation running during the pandemic.” said Thaddeus Atiemo, CEO at Vanny Radio, said. 


 “With this support, we have been able to pay our major bills that without could have led us to shut down during the pandemic and stopping our support to our service users. We are very grateful to HoE and Coventry City of Culture that this fund came at the right time.”


Tina Costello, Chief Executive at Heart of England Community Foundation, comments: “Since Covid-19 hit, it has been our priority to support vulnerable people across the region and provide vital support to help them survive. The arts sector is one that has been so heavily impacted by the pandemic, with no real sign of a recovery period yet, so this fund has given a lifeline to organisations that provide culture, excitement and purpose to the people of Coventry and Warwickshire.


“We have seen first-hand the devastating effect that Covid-19 has had on some of the most treasured arts venues and we felt, and still feel, that we have a duty of care and responsibility to ensure that we do everything we can to make sure that they all see it safely through what is set to be a challenging few months and secure them a future that goes beyond this pandemic. Teaming up with Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 has enabled us to fast-track this support and provide grants to nearly 100 organisations and individuals.”


For a full list of the Foundation’s grants, click here.