Structural reform for Samaritans

Samaritans has voted to streamline its governance structure in a bid to improve its decision-making and cost-effectiveness.

Last Saturday, more than half of its 15,500 qualified volunteers voted by 90 per cent to transfer decision-making powers to a new advisory council.

The advisory council of 218 members comprises 203 branch representatives as well as its 94-year-old founder, Chad Varah, regional representatives and the newly elected chair, Steve Evans.

For the first time, Samaritans will recruit one-third of its 15-strong board of trustees externally in order to diversify its skills, particularly in legal, financial and administrative areas.

Major projects that concern improving the emotional health of employees and schoolchildren, fundraising and text messaging are in the pipeline.

"There is a Samaritans renaissance coming," said Rebecca Seedhouse, a spokeswoman for the charity. "We are concentrating on outreach work as a new chapter in our history in addition to our current service."

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