his is the final foreword from me as I step down from the challenging but rewarding role of Chair after six years. While I will still serve on the Board, it is time for someone else to take the reins and guide SAFA Cumbria through the barriers to continued success that I have alluded to in previous forewords.
Grateful thanks are due to my fellow board members and to all employees, past and present, who have contributed to SAFA’s longevity and success. Without your time, and with no (or minimal!) recompense, SAFA Cumbria would not have survived for the last eleven years. In the past year, volunteers have made significant contributions: speaking at the last AGM , painting a reception room mural and making an anti suicide short film . Our founder and CEO is invaluable, providing inspiration and sound guidance to everyone. Similarly, without our counsellors SAFA Cumbria would not be the force for good that it continues to be.
SAFA Cumbria saves lives.
It gives troubled people the tools to make decisions that will benefit them, lead them from misery and despair towards a hopeful and brighter future. Thanks to all our donors, who make this possible.
We have not yet been successful in establishing meaningful engagement with the multifarious tentacles, changing monthly, of the NHS, with meetings in North Cumbria failing to deliver funding. Therefore, and with extreme reluctance we are withdrawing from North and West Cumbria. It seems that only a tragedy (another?) will shift the self-protecting ringed fence that appears to be built around NHS budgets.
Renewal of county-wide grants from the Big Lottery and BBC Children in Need, have enabled us to chip away at our waiting list, which was worryingly long. We will continue to treat existing clients in the North and West until the allocated share of grant is exhausted.
Having appointed replacement staff with new skills, we have also been able to take stock more effectively than previous years.
Our staff and counsellors work incredibly hard to offer a professional and quality service . Our volunteers continue to support and champion us. Many thanks to our funders - great and small—they are our lifeblood. It is with their continued trust and financial support that we can deliver a life-changing (and life-saving) service.
Last year I wrote about the inadequacy of mental health services for young people—and the reluctance of the NHS to engage with the third sector. Probably because of the unmentionable B word (it has an X in it), we’ve had plenty of noise, but no action.
As I write (November 2019), the BBC is reporting on more incidences of young people committing suicide and an increase in self harm.
“This is the time for action Time to be seen”