Two local building society branches are helping to raise funds for charity.
The Whitley Bay and North Shields branches of Leeds Building Society are among those raising funds to help the Samaritans enhance technology for staff to move faster between phone, email and chat responses.
Between 2016 and 2017 contacts to Samaritans by text and email increased from 683,000 to 868,000.
The society is aiming to raise £250,000 by 2020 to pay for new equipment, including lap-tops, headsets and phones across all 201 Samaritans’ branches.
And after just three months, more than £40,000 has been raised by colleagues and members through the society’s Brew Monday activities, its 100 ways to say hello competition and more events.
Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland said: “We’re delighted that Leeds Building Society colleagues and members voted to support our technology project.
“The money raised will ensure we remain relevant and accessible to people’s changing needs and help us respond quickly to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed.
“It’s so inspiring to see staff and the public across the country, getting behind the partnership and that so many creative and fun-filled fundraising activities are being put on to support us.”
Richard Fearon, Leeds Building Society’s chief commercial officer, said: “We strongly believe Leeds Building Society’s philosophy of people helping people links very closely with the work of Samaritans.
“We knew this partnership would strike a chord with our colleagues and members, and we saw a large number of them taking part in the vote to choose this worthwhile project.
“We are pleased to be able to support Samaritans in enhancing the technology available to its volunteers as we know this will make a difference to the way they can support people contacting them.
“Our partnership has got off to a fantastic start with colleagues and members raising £40,000 in just three months and there is still a great deal to come in the future.”