Staff from North East property and energy firm The Banks Group have adopted The Samaritans as their dedicated charity for the next 12 months.

Having raised over £14,000 for regional cancer charity Bright Red last year, employees at the family-owned firm have now chosen to raise money during 2019 for the Samaritans, which provides a safe place for people to talk at any time about whatever’s getting to them.

Employees from across Banks’ different businesses and locations will take part in a range of fundraising activities through the year, including workplace lunches, dress down days, raffles and cake bakes, as well as taking part in a number of different sporting and activity-related challenges.

The charity was promoted within the company by Chris Kelsey, a member of the company’s community team who has family connections with the charity’s Darlington branch, while Dan Bruce, in the Banks Group’s graphics team, also has family connections with Sunderland Samaritans.

The Samaritans reaches more than 500,000 people every year via its free 116 123 phone number, its free jo@samaritans.org email service and via outreach work in railway stations, schools, hospitals and businesses.

The Samaritans have 201 branches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including eight across Northern England.  It recruited and trained 4,000 new branch volunteers during 2017 and has more than 20,000 people volunteers in total.

Well over £65,000 has now been raised in total over the last six years for the Banks employees’ chosen charities, which have also included The Alzheimer’s Society, The Tiny Lives Trust, Integrating Children, Debra, and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Sara Ellis, a member of The Banks Group’s charity fundraising committee, says: “Our team members always throw themselves wholeheartedly into supporting the charities that they choose to adopt and the amount of money they’ve raised in recent years is very impressive.

“The Samaritans are available to give people who feel they have nowhere left to turn the time and support they need whenever they need it, and often make a life-saving difference in the very dark moments.

“Any one of us could need their support one day and we’re proud to be helping such a highly regarded and important organisation doing life-saving work.”

Rosemary Smith, director at Durham Samaritans adds: “We are thrilled The Banks Group have chosen us as their corporate charity for 2019.  The monies they raise will go towards improving our walk-in facilities for people in distress who visit the Durham branch, which in turn help us offer a better service to the local community.

“Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 50 in the UK, with men accounting for three out of every four deaths by suicide.  It’s a shocking statistic, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.  Together we can raise awareness of how we can all be there for others, to help alleviate distress and reduce suicide.”

For more information on the work of and help available from The Samaritans, please visit www.samaritans.org.uk or follow @samaritans on Twitter.