Cambridge Samaritans - saving lives

by Cambridge Samaritans in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 15th July 2020 we successfully raised £11,248 with 217 supporters in 41 days

Coronavirus has stopped all our fundraising activities leaving us short of funding to keep our service open to support people in dire need

by Cambridge Samaritans in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We have some urgent work to do on our building in central Cambridge. Any extra funding once we have covered our core costs will go towards this work, which will also enable us to increase our capacity to respond to people in distress and struggling to cope.

Stop press - I've just heard that your support has already enabled us to create a small expansion of our capacity to respond to calls from people in distress. Thank you so much to all our supporters. We still have a way to go so please keep donating and sharing in these last few days of the project. It's been amazing so far, we would love to finish with a bang!


Our aim is to maintain our full service and contribute to Our Frontline, a new service providing the extra support needed by NHS and other frontline staff now - when people need us most.

Like us, Aviva will be familiar with answering calls from people who have experienced a traumatic event or a series of difficult problems and find themselves needing help and support to get through. You are often able to offer a practical and sympathetic response to an insurance claim; Cambridge Samaritans provide the emotional support that can prevent problems from becoming a disaster.

Who are we?

Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We're here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can contact us free on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org and we will answer. 

Our vision is that fewer people will die by suicide.

Cambridge Samaritans is run and staffed entirely by volunteers. There are 180 of us, from the branch director to the admin support volunteers, and we recruit and train around 40 more people every year. Our superpower is listening and as Samaritans Listeners, we do it morning, noon and night.

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Our stats, (not so boring!) are impressive. In 2019 Cambridge Samaritans:

  • answered over 32,000 calls
  • answered nearly 4,000 written contacts
  • saw nearly 200 visitors at our centre 
  • spent over 9000 hours on the phone

In 2020 we:

  • are providing part of the NHS "Our Frontline" helpline during the Covid 19 crisis
  • will re-open our face to face service once it is safe to do so
  • will increase our capacity to respond to calls and emails
  • will Introduce instant messaging as another way for people to contact us

An economic miracle:

Public Health England estimates that every suicide carries an economic cost of 1.6 million pounds. 

JW (a caller) put an even higher value on our service “Cambridge Samaritans were my lifeline when I was feeling desperate. They saved my life.” 

We also go out!

Our volunteer outreach and schools teams work with all sorts of organisations too; Network Rail at 3 Cambridgeshire railway stations, Cambridge United Football Club, Jimmy’s night shelter and Cambridge Wintercomfort, local schools, colleges and community groups. As if that wasn’t enough, we also train and support Listeners at Littlehey Prison. 

"It has been fantastic to build up links with Samaritans locally- it was great to have them at Cambridge Pride running a stall and to attend one of the groups." Lara Jaffey, CEO, The Kite Trust and co-founder of Pink Festival Group.

“We’re thankful for our ongoing partnership with Cambridge Samaritans. We strive to be a mentally healthy football club and published a Charter recognising the importance of good mental health for performance and also the positive role that football can play more widely on the issue in society." Cambridge United Football Club

This amazing photo of a beautiful sunrise was taken by Cambridge Samaritans volunteers who were setting up ready for a cold few hours on Cambridge Station giving out information and talking to people about what we do. 

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 Why we need your support

We are lucky to own our building in Cambridge so our costs are pretty low, around £45k per year for volunteer expenses, training, gas, electric and water, all the techie bits like broadband, phone lines and IT stuff, essential repairs and maintenance, insurance; you name it, we have to pay it. And we have already had to spend around £4,000 extra on antiviral wipes, sprays,  hand gel and costs for changes to how we work together but at a safe distance!! 

But fundraising is increasingly challenging anyway and then, as soon as the Covid-19 lockdown struck, our regular fundraising had to suddenly stop. It's mainly public collections and small events, none of which are possible now.  It's the bills and expenses and hygiene materials that we will spend your donation on so we can keep going every day and night.

We are very proud of our record on keeping the branch open and active at all times including during holiday periods, Christmas etc. 

We have kept going through Covid-19, maintaining our service from Cambridge Samaritans despite unprecedented circumstances and without the ability to fundraise as normal to cover the costs.People need us now more than ever. Please help us to make sure we don’t fail them.

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