Not So Charitable?

Not So Charitable?

SOS is a small charity. Not just small, but tiny, with extremely limited resources, yet there is an appetite for our services. And we have an appetite to deliver.

We are not alone. There are many smaller and micro Charities around the UK doing invaluable work which is not funded and relies purely on the generosity of the public, or through winning local authority service provision opportunities.

The founders and workers of these charities are often subsidising services out of their own pockets and work for years on a voluntary basis.

For many medium and larger charities however, the story is very different.

Salaries amongst senior executives of larger charities are well publicised and the charitable sector has come under scrutiny and criticism because of what are seen to be inflated pay packets of their Executive level staff. Given that a large percentage of the work is carried out by volunteers who are not remunerated (except for their expenses), is it any surprise that eyebrows are raised and questions asked?

Are such huge salaries really warranted? Who is funding these salaries? Do these charities need prime location offices that surely utilise funds that could be better applied in delivering services to those in need? In a time when it’s proven we can adapt to working from home, we would hope that all businesses consider what is, and is not, essential expenditure.

All charities strive to do excellent work and those who are key in implementing financial and service delivery strategies, taking sometimes difficult decisions and developing sustainable relationships deserve to be paid for what they bring to the table. But a financial polarisation exists. There is a basic unfairness and inequality. And it’s not just about salaries.

Many smaller charities simply do not have the resources or knowledge to submit what can be complex grant applications. Furthermore, the (sometimes) intricate analysis and data reporting required if a grant is awarded leaves smaller charities wondering how on earth they can possibly comply.

Most importantly, when staff are removed from delivering the service to put together reports and collect data, they are not there for the people who need them.

The announcement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently handing a ÂŁ5m pot to assist smaller charities sounded wonderful. To be administered through Mind, (and one has to ask why another charity was asked to be the custodian and distributor of these funds), it was designed to assist those charities who are all too often forgotten, but are offering necessary and crucial support services not just during Covid-19, but beyond.

Consider this:

Just for a minute, consider a micro charity with just 1 or 2 people running it, and there are many of these. Doing everything from social media, fundraising, compliance, web updates and most importantly, delivering services to those in need.

Also consider slightly larger charities whose staff are the ones that deliver the services to the public and would be expected to provide the reporting, reducing the time spent on service delivery.

Now, take a look at this:

Extract taken from the Mind Application Form Guidance Notes. Copyright Mind

‘1.4 How this fund will work

Although the funding available is for twelve months of delivery, the application form will only
ask you to specify how you intend to respond to immediate needs in the first three months of
delivery (between May – August 2020, depending on when your activity starts). If your
application is successful, we will ask for monthly catch-ups in this initial period in order to
understand your experiences and how you are managing emerging challenges. At the end of
this three-month period, we will ask that you submit a project plan for the final period of
delivery, and will work with you to ensure that this meets both your organisation’s needs as
well as the ambitions of the fund. Please note, these plans for the end of the three-month
period are dependent on the status of the coronavirus pandemic, and government guidance
about public health in relation to this.
Because of this approach the application will ask you to outline:
ď‚· your plans for the coming months
ď‚· the track record of your organisation in delivering services similar to the one you are
 your organisation’s experience of involving people with lived experience of mental
health problems in leadership roles1′

Of course, money has to be accounted for. But there is an assumption  that charities have the necessary resources, eg staff, time, knowledge, to provide this level of reporting.

There HAS to be a level of reporting introduced that is structured to reflect the capabilites and resources of smaller/micro charities. Without this, applications from those the money is designed for, may well decline as compliance is an impossibility. For those that do apply, and succeed, at what cost to the vulnerable they help through lost delivery hours?

With all the above in mind, we are fully supporting The Kaleidoscope Plus Group and their #togetherforchange campaign . Please take a read and sign their open letter to the Government.

Because right now, what appears to be charitable is not so charitable after all

Thank you for your continued support






Hugh Quarshie joins SOS as Patron


SOS are delighted to announce that British actor Hugh Quarshie has joined our team as a Patron with immediate effect.

Hugh has had a long and distingushed acting career both on stage and screen.  He is perhaps best known for his long standing role as Ric Griffin in Holby City although he is also a member of the Royal Shakespeare company and has appeared on stage in many productions.

Having emigrated with his family from Ghana to the UK when he was 3, Hugh went on to to read PPE at Christ Church, Oxford.

Hugh has shown immense interest in the work of SOS and is proud to be joining our existing Trustees and Patrons who are all dedicated to helping SOS support more people in more places who are affected by suicide and mental wellbeing in general.

Thank you and welcome on board Hugh!

For details of our other Trustees and Patrons, please click HERE

Then Click About Us/Trustees/Patrons.

Interfaith Wolverhampton


Interfaith Conference

The prevention of Self-Harm and Suicide, 

At University of Wolverhampton

Chancellor’s Hall

Wulfruna Street



Saturday 16 November 2019

9.30AM to 3PM

Contact detail:                                Free ticketed event/free Lunch

Phone 01902 427601                 Cllr Jas Dehar   07958 561731   




At University of Wolverhampton

Chancellor’s Hall

Wulfruna Street



Domestic Abuse And Suicide

Thank you to Wendy Turner Webster for allowing SOS Silence of Suicide to share this important film about domestic abuse and suicide.

This film is so important because it explores the wider issues and effects of domestic abuse, asking ‘Is there a legal liability for suicide?’, examining the impact on children, whilst also demonstrating that not all abuse is physical or visible.

If you, or someone you know, is feeling suicidal because of domestic abuse, whatever form it takes, please contact Refuge Charity on their 24 hour helpline 0808 2000 247 or contact the Samaritans on 116 123 . Children and young people witnessing or experiencing abuse, or are feeling anxious and frightened, can contact Childline by clicking HERE

For anyone based in the USA who requires similar resources, especially around keeping children and families safe, please visit

SOS send their love to all those who bravely shared their stories in this film.



Britain Get Talking Campaign by ITV

ITV have launched their Britain Get Talking campaign in an effort to bring families closer together by discussing their mental health.

This is a fantastic initiative which mirrors what SOS have been encouraging since its formation in 2015 – open and honest conversation without stigma and shame attached.

There are some fabulous tools on the site, including tips on conversation starters , because we all know how difficult it can be to open discussions around mental health.

Some well known faces from television discuss how they open dialogue whilst doing other things, for example, cooking.  To read more, click HERE

For anyone feeling vulnerable or struggling to cope, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258.

Please share this information with everyone you know – it could help save lives.


It’s Time To Stop The Silence

Press Release – Mental Health & Black Cab Drivers

Press Release In Support of Better Mental Health Provision by TFL for London’s Black Cab Drivers

SOS Silence of Suicide has been working closely with some London black cab drivers in an attempt to understand the psychological challenges that both the job, and industry regulations stipulated by TFL, impact upon these men and women in their professional and private lives.  Reports of depression, stress and anxiety are growing by the day and changes urgently need to be made to bring about improved mental health.

Continuous support is offered by ourselves free of charge and there are many other charities and groups who can provide much needed assistance – there is no doubt that those who are an historical and much loved part of the London landscape are fighting to earn a living above the national minimum wage, whilst having to operate within a regulatory climate that reduces their freedom of movement and hence their earnings.   In comparison, other taxi operatives in the City are free to operate without the same restrictions, creating an unfair working environment.  It is not difficult to see why poor mental health is on the rise.

SOS were shown a confidential email recently, received from the Sarah Hope Line (a counselling service funded by the TFL) and written to a cab driver who had been utilising this service that should, in theory, help him and others.  His initial belief, and relief, that TFL were attempting to offer support, quickly evaporated when he was told that he could not discuss the causes of his poor mental health if they related to issues at work.  In this particular instance, the driver concerned was told he had to manage his own traumas outside of counselling.

It is quite ridiculous to suggest, let alone enforce, the ethos that you cannot discuss the issues that may create, or compound, poor mental health at counselling sessions, and the attitude of the SHL has been poor, uncaring and dismissive. They are certainly not displaying the professionalism or empathy required whilst purporting to help those in crisis. We have written ourselves asking for an explanation of their protocols, but have been met with silence.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE, a member of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly, is addressing the concerns of these drivers directly.

SOS will continue to offer unwavering support to the drivers and we hope that the near future sees TFL working to provide a counselling service that does not restrict freedom of speech amongst its clients.  After all, being a regulator does carry responsibilities to those it represents and those responsibilities need to be recognised, and honoured, in a correct way.

A documentary, made by Jasper Warry from Hello Deer Productions called ‘Driven To Despair’ can be viewed by clicking HERE


SOS Silence of Suicide.

October 2019

Launch of Warwickshire Safe Haven Service


Mental Health Matters (MHM) are delighted to be launching the Warwickshire Safe Haven Service for people experiencing mental distress, in Leamington Spa and Nuneaton. The service commences on Monday 1st July in Leamington Spa and Thursday 4th July in Nuneaton. The provision has been commissioned by Warwickshire County Council on behalf of the Better Care, Better Health, Better Value programme for Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing.

MHM looks forward to welcoming everyone to our service.  Please pop in, and join us for refreshments, and say hello in either Nuneaton or Leamington Spa; everyone is welcome: clients, family, professionals, front-line workers – everyone!

We are at CAVA in Leamington Spa Monday – Wednesday  6pm-11pm

4&6 Clemens Street, Leamington Spa- CV31 2DL

And at CAVA in Nuneaton Thursday – Sunday 6pm -11pm 
The Newtown Centre, Newtown Rd, Nuneaton CV11 4HG

Further information is available on the attached service leaflets – please do share this email and information widely through your networks. We will also be launching the provision on twitter, so please also like and share our tweets –  @MHM_Info

Copyright: Warwickshire County Council, reproduced from their email communication.