LCR Cares – how The Martin Gallier Project in New Ferry will use its £5000 grant

Jessica Gallier, Chief Executive, The Martin Gallier Project.

The Martin Gallier Project is a suicide prevention centre which opened in February 2019. Our philosophy is that the door is always open, the kettle is always on and you can just drop in, you don’t need a referral from anywhere. If you feel you’re in crisis then you can come here.

“Coronavirus came at a time when we were relying completely on our fundraising for support. We had a grand ball scheduled, two big music events that were being arranged for us, there were marathons and things happening and that was what was going to fund our core costs and keep our doors open until we got to apply for the next funding pot.

“Of course, all of those things had to be cancelled due to the social distancing rules and the changes around big gatherings, so we lost about £20,000 that we were expecting to help us overnight. Without that, we had enough to keep going for maybe a couple of weeks.

“We were facing having to fold the charity completely and lay off the four staff jobs that we’ve worked really hard to create in the last year.

“Funds like LCR Cares from which we’ve received £5,000 are invaluable. It has enabled us to keep our staff on and keep the service running.

“We were immediately able to put a contingency plan into place. We had to close the centre itself, but we have provided all our staff and volunteers with phones and we moved our services into a crisis phone line system. Normally we carry out face to face support, but this situation meant we couldn’t do that and we couldn’t just walk away from both the people we were currently working with, and others who might find themselves in need due to the increase in social isolation, financial pressures and health anxiety. It also meant we could continue to take referrals from places like foodbanks who are supporting people.

“In addition to this, we have diversified somewhat. Prior to Coronavirus, we had trained about 60 members of the community in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training. We trained these volunteers either because they had a family member who was at risk of suicide or they were people that you may interact with on a regular basis, like hairdressers for example, people that if you were having a hard time you might confide in. The idea is that they can spot the red flags and act accordingly.

“We’ve been able to call on these people now and create a new virtual ‘buddy system’ so that once we’ve supported someone in immediate crisis, we don’t lose contact with them and they have a ‘buddy’ staying in touch with them who is trained to spot early warning signs that they might need extra help.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the funding that came in and that fact that everything has moved so quickly and we haven’t had to wait a long time for the funding to arrive has meant that we could take action straight away. In our first year we have prevented 400 suicides and it’s amazing that we can continue during these challenging times.”

Jessica Gallier, Chief Executive, The Martin Gallier Project.

LCRCares is a crowdfunding campaign to raise £1million to support community and voluntary organisations on the frontline of helping the city region’s communities cope with the impact of Coronavirus. 

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