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Samaritans receive cash boost from Scotrail Foundation

26 November 2013

Samaritans of Falkirk and Central Scotland are celebrating after receiving £1,600 from the ScotRail Foundation.

The organisation, which relies solely on volunteers, provides support to anyone suffering from feelings of distress or despair. It is among the first batch of charities to receive financial grants from the newly established ScotRail Foundation, which was set up in May to support charitable groups from communities across Scotland.

The Foundation, which will distribute £100,000 by May 2014, is open to applications from any group which supports children or young people, improves the environment or enhances the general health and wellbeing of local areas.

Samaritans of Falkirk and Central Scotland is part of a UK-wide network of 202 groups which listen to those in emotional distress and offer guidance wherever possible. They operate a 24 hour telephone helpline, which is completely confidential, and drop-in centres for those who would rather talk face-to-face.

The £1,600 awarded by the ScotRail Foundation will go towards the cost of running four community health days in and around Falkirk, which will promote the importance of dealing with emotional stress.

Dr Michele McClung, chair of Samaritans of Falkirk and Central Scotland, said: “The Samaritans isn’t just a support service for those who specifically seek our help. Our goal is also to show the public it is available to them, especially if they don’t have an outlet in their personal life.

“Too many people suffer in silence and have a hard time opening up to close relatives. The funding provided by the ScotRail Foundation will go a long way to helping those who find it difficult acknowledging and dealing with their emotions.”

Across the country, 26 groups will share a total of £42,000 with amounts ranging from £250 to just under £5,000. Over £3,000 in ‘match funding’ has been distributed among 14 members of ScotRail staff to enhance local fundraising efforts.

Director Pat Callaghan, who manages corporate social responsibility for ScotRail, said: “We believe we are much more than a railway operator and have a significant part to play in improving our communities. The ScotRail Foundation has been created to offer support to deserving groups whose valuable work enriches the life of people in various parts of the country.

“The service that groups such as the Samaritans of Falkirk and Central Scotland provide for people is extremely important. Their work helps people live more fulfilling lives, by building their confidence and self-esteem, and it is something we are proud to support.”

The deadline for the next round of applications is Friday 17 January. Three regional committees of ScotRail staff, who volunteered for the role, will then meet to select the groups which best meet the criteria - and successful applicants will be announced in March 2014.

Foundation Scotland, an independent charity with more than 16 years’ experience, manages the fund on behalf of ScotRail.

Groups interested in submitting an application should contact Foundation Scotland on 0141 341 4960 or visit www.foundationscotland.org.uk/scotrail for more information.

For media enquiries:
David McNaught
Tel: 0141 333 9585
Mob: 07882798167
Email: david.mcnaught@bigpartnership.co.uk

Notes to editors:

• The ScotRail Foundation is a national programme available to groups and organisations across Scotland. The fund is provided by ScotRail directly as part of its commitment to their social and corporate responsibilities, and is managed by Foundation Scotland on ScotRail's behalf.

• Groups and organisations are encouraged to apply (individuals are excluded). Recommendations for grants and how the money will be distributed will be made by an advisory panel drawn from ScotRail staff.

• Further advice and guidance is available via scotrail.co.uk/betterwaytobe or by emailing info@foundationscotland.org.uk

• Having even a limited connection to a rail or local station project may improve success rate

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