King’s Lynn Samaritans hail Budget grant

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Lynn charity officials are set to share in a multi-million pound grant to provide emotional support for servicemen and women and their families.

A £3.5 million funding package for the Samaritans, drawn from fines generated from the Libor rate-fixing scandal, was announced during Wednesday’s Budget.

The cash will be used to enable members of the armed forces, or their relatives, to access support wherever they are in the world through the charity.

Local officials say they have yet to be told how the money will help them to support servicemen and women in their communities.

But Keith King, director of the Samaritans’ Lynn branch, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “We rely on men and women in the armed forces to put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

“With this funding, Samaritans can share its expertise with the military so that those serving or leaving the forces and their families are better equipped to deal with their unique circumstances, as well as the day to day struggles that we all face.

The Samaritans will provide training to create listening volunteers within the military services, with online support available for service personnel and their loved ones.

Additional support will also be provided via text, email and instant messaging platforms during the three year project.

The Samaritans already run a prisons listening programme, where inmates are trained to provide support to prisoners who are struggling to cope.

The Lynn branch, based in Queen Street, already runs that programme at the Wayland prison, near Watton, and the Whitemoor high security jail in neighbouring Cambridgeshire. It has also worked with RAF Marham in the past.

And Mr King said that training would give military personnel skills they could use after they leave the forces.