In the last few months CALM’s helpline has become ever busier, and demand really spiked following Robin William’s suicide. We answered over 2620 calls, 90 text threads and 184 webchats this August (2014). But we need to be able to take more – demand to the helpline alone last month was 4552.
New supporters and enquirers also tripled last month. It’s worth keeping in mind that I can count the number of staff in the CALM office on the fingers of one hand. Grants from Tudor Trust and City Bridge help support our Editor, Rachel, who is responsible for the website, magazine and social media and newly appointed Volunteer and Outreach Coodinator, Brid, but the wages of other staff have to come out of general donations.
Whilst CALM currently receives grants from Henry Smith Charity and City Bridge Trust, and commissioning from the London Tri-Borough area and Merseyside towards the helpline, we get no government grants for our service nor do we get any significant funding from any corporates. We are delighted, however, to get grant funding from Comic Relief, the John Ellerman Foundation and Rayne Foundation who’s grants have helped us launch our webchat service.
I’m immensely proud of the support CALM has received over the last few years which has helped us grow in capacity and reach. We currently spend around £20K a month just on the helpline. The challenge is to grow again, to meet this new demand and increase our influence and voice.