Staff at the national NHS organisation, which is based in the North East, have chosen two charities to partner with this coming year, following their success in raising £67,000 for the British Heart Foundation during 2018/19.

The funds raised, well over the original target of £25,000, equate to providing 3375 hours (or 90 weeks) of vital support from a helpline cardiac nurse or 1350 training kits to allow more people to learn CPR.

This time around, NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is partnering with both the Trussell Trust and with Samaritans.
Last week the Trussell Trust reported that in the last year, 1.6m three-day emergency food supplies were delivered to people in crisis across the UK – a 19 per cent increase in need. Samaritans report that they answer more than £5m calls for help each year, they respond to a call for help every six seconds.

As well as raising funds and volunteering for the charities, the NHSBSA aims to break through negative stereotypes associated with people living in poverty or those who attempt suicide. To show that illness, disability, family breakdown or the loss of a job can happen to any of us.

Heather Walters, who works for the NHSBSA, experienced extreme poverty after she finished college. She said: “I couldn’t afford food anymore; I was already buying the cheapest I could and shopping around for the yellow stickers so I could have some fresh food and not just smart price noodles. Bills were going up. I couldn’t ask family to help. Before this, I had never heard of the Trussell Trust, nor had we ever used food banks before.

“I now live with her [mum] and my partner, we volunteer as Experts by Experience for Food Power Newcastle and help people who are in the same situations we were in. We help our community by meeting MPs, local government, other charities and organisations that provide emergency and non-emergency food aid and join everyone together, and this also now includes the Trussell Trust.

“I am so proud that NHSBSA is supporting the Trussell Trust as well as Samaritans. Together we can make a difference and inspire people around us to take action and help in some way.”

Alistair McDonald, Chief Executive at NHSBSA said: “We know that tackling mental ill health is a priority for the NHS and we want to support Samaritans, a charity that is part of this solution. The mental wellbeing of our people is very important to us too and I’m sure the partnership will be beneficial for both organisations. This week we’re launching our work with the Trussell Trust, whose aim is to end hunger and poverty in the UK by supporting a network of over 1,200 food banks which provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty. We felt that we can make a significant social impact by offering them our business skills and expertise to really make a difference.”

Samantha Lane, Director of Fundraising at the Trussell Trust, said: “At a time when we’re seeing an ever-increasing need at food banks, having the support of new partners like NHSBSA helps us provide vital practical support to frontline projects on the ground. Our shared values of compassion and delivering holistic support make us complementary partners. We’re really grateful for their support to ensure people get the best possible help at a time when it’s most needed. ”

Bob Howe has been a Samaritans Listening Volunteer for over 18 years and is Functional Lead for Fundraising. He said: “We know life can be tough. And when it gets too much, we’re there to listen, day and night. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re so thrilled that NHSBSA has chosen us as one of this year’s charity partners. Not only will this partnership allow us to be there for more people, it will help to break down the stigma of suicide and mental ill health. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve together over the year ahead.”

Whether you want to donate, volunteer or just learn more about what these charities do, visit their websites at www.samaritans.org and https://www.trusselltrust.org/