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Marking the end of a powerful partnership with Samaritans

12 January, 2024 |Ardonagh Group | Ardonagh Community Trust

Since May 2021, Ardonagh’s independent charity, ACT, has partnered with Samaritans to champion positive wellbeing and to reflect the cause as one central to the heart of the trust.

Samaritans' vision is a world where fewer people die by suicide. Key to their incredible work across the UK and Ireland is their volunteer-led listening service, which provides a non-judgmental line anyone can call for free and is open all year round.

Over the past two and a half years, ACT together with our colleagues have raised a spectacular £162,000 – surpassing our target of £150,000 – and the equivalent of over 32,000 calls to Samaritans’ 24/7 listening service.

As Ardonagh grows globally, it’s time for to ensure that ACT’s partner mirrors the evolution of the Group, so with the start of 2024, our partnership with Samaritans comes to an end to move onto a new chapter.

Far from a goodbye, we will continue to value the relationship built to date and to champion Samaritans, and so today we celebrate a hugely successful partnership and reflect on some of the most memorable moments of the past two-plus years...

A fantastic first month

To kick off the partnership, ACT donated £25,000, the equivalent to funding 5,000 potentially life-changing calls for help.

We closely followed this with a brilliant Group-wide online auction event, raising over £11,000 with a further £4,000 contributed by our Towergate colleagues.

Ride4Life on the road – times two!

Our Group charity cycle event, Ride4Life, took to the saddle not once, but twice, in support of Samaritans.

In 2021, they cycled over 200 miles from Uris in Doncaster to London, raising £25,000. The team was met with a welcome party from the charity at the finish line in Leadenhall market to celebrate the fantastic total.

Clearly not tired enough from that amazing effort, the Lycra was donned yet again in 2022, when the team pedaled their way from Towergate Cheltenham to London. Along the route, they were met by several groups of Samaritans volunteers, keeping the Ride4Life team motivated as the hills took their toll. They reached the finish line with a total of £10,000 raised.

The Ride4Life team at the finish line in Leadenhall market, joined by Samaritans.

Doubling our colleagues' incredible fundraising efforts

Over the past couple of years, colleagues from around the Group have got behind Samaritans and taken on their own challenges.

From a £5,000 donation at the Bravo Networks conference, to a Tough Mudder challenge and charity football game in Ardonagh Specialty raising £3,000, and a trek up Mount Snowdon in Ardonagh Retail.

Alongside match funding from ACT, through their own events our colleagues raised a brilliant £40,000 towards our overall partnership total.

Ardonagh Retail colleagues at the summit of Mt. Snowdon on their Samaritans' fundraiser.

Ardonagh Specialty took on a Tough Mudder challenge to raise over £4,000.

Sponsoring Samaritans Listening Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

In 2023, we were honoured to further our support by joining Samaritans at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show – one of the world’s oldest garden shows, having taken place in London since 1912.

2023 was all the more special, as Samaritans’ celebrated their 70th anniversary, which they marked with a beautiful show garden, ‘The Listening Garden’, at Chelsea, which was designed to reflect the journey of a caller to the charity’s listening line from crisis to hope.

We were delighted to attend the unveiling of the garden at a special evening event sponsored by ACT, and attended by many of our ACT Trustees.

Samaritans' beautiful Listening Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Thank you, from Samaritans' CEO

"As we celebrate our wonderful two-year partnership between Ardonagh Community Trust and Samaritans, I’d like to take a moment to thank every single staff member who has supported by raising awareness, donating to our campaigns, raising funds and taking part in active events.
"Over the course of the partnership ACT and Ardonagh colleagues have gone above and beyond in demonstrating their clear commitment to mental health and wellbeing and all of your efforts combined have raised over £160,000 for Samaritans. This phenomenal amount will go on to help fund our life-saving work so we can continue to be there round-the-clock for anyone who is struggling.
"Since our partnership began in 2021, we have faced some increasingly difficult times, as we navigated the aftermath of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. It is more vital than ever that Samaritans are there to listen, without judgement and without pressure to anyone who needs emotional support. On behalf of us all at Samaritans I cannot thank you enough." Julie Bentley, CEO Samaritans

The difference funding makes when it matters most

To understand the huge impact the funding, and Samaritans' services, has in times of crisis, we're sharing with you Bella's powerful story.

For years, Bella didn’t break her silence because she didn’t believe she would be listened to, or understood. The Samaritans volunteer she spoke to made her feel that her life had value. She says that hearing those words, and believing them, helped give her the confidence to go on.

"I'm here today because Samaritans was there to listen. There was one evening things got way too much, I’d had enough, I just wanted to go somewhere, anywhere. And then I phoned Samaritans." Bella, Samaritans caller

Looking ahead to our new partner...

In 2024, we begin a new partnership with global humanitarian charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). With truly international reach and impartiality at their core, MSF is supports communities where others cannot, or will not, go.

Our partnership with MSF is fitting for not only in reflection of our global footprint, but the values and spirit of our organisation – and together with our colleagues, we will support MSF's invaluable work.

Watch out for the official announcement of this new relationship next week.

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