A Letter from Annie Mills, Director of Mid Cheshire Samaritans
“My name is Annie Mills and I am a Listening Volunteer and the Director of Mid Cheshire Samaritans.
I am at the moment looking for support, help and donations from people who care passionately about their community and who may feel inspired to help us,
But let me explain more about who we are, what we do, and what we need.
Samaritans of Mid Cheshire is based at 1, Manchester Road, Northwich CW9 5LY. We are an affiliated branch of Samaritans nationally so are responsible for raising all our own income. We are very proud to have been in Mid Cheshire for just under 60 years and we want to be celebrating this milestone with you all, next year.
About our Branch
- We are a self-funding organisation, made up of local volunteers.
- We have 65 Listening volunteers, who each offer their support and time an average of 200 hrs per year each (which is over 13000 man hrs per year)
- We answer over 15000 calls just in this Branch and answer 2500 emails, supporting people who are in distress, despair, feeling suicidal or are just in need of someone to talk to about what is troubling them, whenever they need us
- We are open for shifts 365 days per year, and cover daytime and overnight, weekends and Bank Holidays, and we stayed open during the Covid epidemic, operating from the branch in Northwich
- We want to raise awareness that Samaritans are not only there for people who are severely in distress and thinking of ending their life. We all face many challenges throughout our life and need someone to talk to, who will listen, without judging, without giving advice and give us that precious commodity. Time! Whether you have lost a loved one, are struggling with your mental wellbeing, issues at work, at school, at home, they can all cause us to struggle. The more people that reach out to us earlier, the better they may feel
- Although we operate mostly from our building, we do also go out to offer support in the community.
- We have a prison Outreach team which visits Thorn Cross Prison at least once a month. Our volunteers train the Prison Listeners and Officers, and our Branch Prison Support Officer collaborates with the Prison staff on a regular basis.
- We work in partnership with Network Rail locally and attend any local rail incidents to offer support to staff and passengers
- We have a local School’s Outreach programme. I think we all appreciate the need to reach young people early as so many more are finding it difficult transitioning through their teenage years. We want to spread the message about emotional wellbeing and also ensure they know they are never alone and can always call us, to talk before things become too difficult for them.
- We work within the community supporting local charities, organisations and businesses as requested, and after the covid years it is my focus that the Outreach aspect of our organisation here grows with the passion and the expertise of the team here
We want to do more!
We are urgently seeking help with building restoration works.
Our property is over 100 years old and was purchased in 2001 with the help of money bequeathed to us. Recent work to repair the failing rendering has revealed an unstable retaining wall, which is a danger to our building and to our neighbours. We commissioned a consulting engineer to examine the issue and he has confirmed that our building has age-related deterioration of the brickwork which is not covered by our insurance.
A program of work has been prepared to replace the failing brickwork and then replace the rendering. This work will be undertaken by local businesses. The estimated cost for the work is between £25000-£30000. We appreciate that no one donation or grant will cover this which is why we are asking people to consider smaller amounts, to still feel they can play an active part, without it being outside of their sensible reach.
This work will ensure the safety of our volunteers, our neighbours and visitors which is paramount to our operation in supporting the community. It will also improve our local visibility to support community mental wellbeing and enhance our volunteer environment to help attract and retain more volunteers.
We stayed operating fully during Covid but our fundraising activities were obviously severely curtailed, and our funds have been severely depleted. Our operating costs are around £25k annually and we have enough reserves to cover those costs. We have a building repair reserve fund which will cover the completion of the re-rendering work, but we do not have sufficient to cover the costs of the extra work needed.
The attached photos of the building demonstrate the severity, and if you drive by 1, Manchester Road you will see us!!
We want to continue to be a part of this community, in this building, so I am asking if you would be kind enough to consider giving us your support, with a small donation.
If you are a business, who may want to help, either with a grant or a donation please get in touch OR if you would like to make a small personal donation you can do so by going to Samaritans of Mid-Cheshire: Help us be here when it matters (enthuse.com)
If you would like any further information, or I can help in any way just let me know.
Apologies for the lengthy email, I just wanted to ensure you had the whole picture.
Director of Mid Cheshire Samaritans