The extension will allow the team at Cala to continue raising funds to support the charity’s vital work across the UK, while strengthening employee mental health and wellbeing.
The partnership is now in its third year and Cala’s contributions to the charity already exceed £456,000.
This has been achieved through a combination of both corporate donations and employee fundraising across each of its eight regions and two head offices.
This equates to the cost of responding to 90,000 calls for help, and the funds raised are helping to ensure that Samaritans can continue to be there for people, whatever they’re facing, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The formation of the successful charity partnership began in 2020 following Samaritans’ call for better mental and emotional health support for middle-aged men.
One of the most high-risk groups for suicide, they remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women, and with the risk of suicide significantly higher than the national UK average for males who work in the construction sector.
Cala Homes was keen to not only support this vital charity, but also strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of its own team and subcontractor partners.
Samaritans has provided listening and emotional resilience training to help equip Cala’s 1,300 employees with the skills to take care of their own wellbeing, as well as being more aware of their co-workers’ mental wellbeing.
Cala has started 2023 with a focus on mental health in its construction roadshows led by CEO, Kevin Whitaker and Cala’s leadership team delivered across its eight regional businesses to more than 300 of its site and construction teams.
Cala continues its rollout of site visits this year with Samaritans delivering talks on developments and at regional construction forums.
These sessions aim to encourage site teams and subcontractors to look out for each other, how to recognise signs and symptoms, and providing tips for active listening, as well as highlighting the importance of open conversations around mental health.
Cala is committed to employee wellbeing, and over 100 employees have also undertaken Mental Health First Aider Training, as part of the housebuilder’s wider wellbeing strategy.
Cala employees and subcontractors have taken on a variety of fundraising challenges, events and initiatives throughout the partnership, including golf days, marathons, bake sales and a virtual relay race from Aberdeen to Farnham and back, taking in each of the Cala regional and head offices and reaching a total distance of 1,892km.
Cala’s South Home Counties Commercial team raised more than £18,000 last year after trekking for 15 hours from their Godalming development to their Lancing site – covering 42 miles across the region.
Alongside feats of endurance and other fundraising initiatives, Cala’s construction team and their subcontractors helped refurbish Samaritans’ Horsham, Guildford and Aberdeen branches, utilising their skills and expertise for the charity.
“It is important to have conversations about mental health, particularly within the construction industry”
Commenting on the extension of the charity partnership and their recent fundraising achievements, Kevin Whitaker, chief executive of Cala, said: “We are proud to support Samaritans and the essential services they provide for people across the country.
“By extending for another year, not only are we supporting this charity to help make a real difference, the fundraising provides an opportunity for our people to socialise, build team spirit and challenge themselves.
“In addition to supporting our own staff, we want to continue to extend support to the many subcontractors that we have on our sites every day across the UK, giving access to wellbeing and mental health assistance.
“We also think it is important to have open conversations about mental health, particularly within the construction industry.
“The charity’s work is a lifeline for many and we look forward to the partnership continuing for another year.”
Sonya Trivedy, executive director for Income at Samaritans, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Cala, who have contributed a phenomenal £456,000 in three years.
“Cala has also raised awareness of mental health and wellbeing among their own staff and subcontractors.
“In recent years the world has become, for many, a more uncertain and changeable place. Anyone can find themselves struggling to cope.
“We are delighted that Cala is extending our fundraising partnership to support us in continuing to be there for anyone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
The 22,000 volunteers who give their time to Samaritans spent more than one million hours responding to calls for help last year.
Across over 200 branches in the UK and Ireland, they respond to a call for help every ten seconds.
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.