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Trustee’s end of year statement 2022

Trustee’s end of year statement 2022

Thank you to our Lead Trustee, Michael Mansfield KC for his end of year statement for SOS Silence of Suicide.

For many people,  2022 has been the year of re-building and starting again after the pandemic.  This is true also for many charities, especially those who managed to survive.  Sadly, some were lost.

SOS has been fortunate throughout the pandemic and beyond, being surrounded by the sheer good will of individuals, volunteers, organisations & funders who supported us and allowed us to ensure our support of vulnerable children and adults was able to continue.

Given what a small charity we are, and despite all the odds, we have not only survived this year, but flourished.  We looked not at what we couldn’t do, but what we could do, and do well, acknowledging our strengths and our weaknesses.  Our one focus was on those who look to us for help – how could we maintain and develop our support for them.

And with this focus being our guide, we have started to expand in a way we thought was many years away.  Our crisis helpline is now open every evening and we have introduced a new type of phone support in our coffee chat line which is for anyone who is struggling, but not in crisis, or someone who simply wants to hear the voice of another human being.  This service alone has received almost 2000 calls since it launched 2 months ago; considering it is only available 3 nights a week, it clearly demonstrates the demand for alternative services.

All of our services are seeing growing demand as the toll of everyday struggles and challenges put extra pressure on people.  From the cost of living generally, to having somewhere to live, in fighting to retain some kind of hope for the future, times are incredibly tough for all age groups from all backgrounds.  Charities are bridging the gaps in professional services that are not accessible in a timely manner when people need them.

I have to thank the selfless work, planning and vision of our CEO Yvette and the wonderful support she has had from our team of volunteers and paid staff (we have just 1.5!).  Without the dedication of Yvette and her team, our support of others would have been in jeopardy, denying those who rightfully deserve help the opportunity to get in touch.

Also this year, individuals and organisations have approached us about our work and have generously and kindly helped us financially and otherwise, alongside existing and long term sources of funding and support.  There are far too many to mention, but to everyone who has supported us this year, in whatever way, our very sincere thanks to you all.

We are delighted that 2023 will see a resumption of our group meetings, alongside the development and roll out of other, new services.

This year has also seen a dramatic rise in the number of volunteer applications to the Charity and those who successfully complete our new, robust training are invited to join us.  Every individual has one aim – to help other people.  From January 2023, our primary training will consist of 4 consecutive days of learning and listening.

Our thanks to one of our newest volunteers, who is working hard in developing our own set of training materials and courses, some delving deep into mental health and suicidal causations and how we might, as a society, best help others and ourselves

Mental health is not a ‘black and white issue’, it is highly nuanced and people in need can present in many different ways.  Our experience helps us to understand the caller’s position and talk this through with them, providing professional talking and listening engagement whilst leaving the caller in control of their choices.

We are looking forward to 2023 and helping to support more children and adults than ever before.  With a committed team of first class volunteers who are proud to do what they do for SOS, supported by the team of Trustees, our CEO and paid staff, we feel positive about the continued contribution we can make in keeping people safe and ultimately, helping to keep people alive.

The Board of Trustee of SOS led by Michael Mansfield QC        

27 December 2022