In the UK, we still lose an average of 18 people to suicide every day. 50% of these people are not in touch with any services at the time of their attempt and in spite of advances in technology, medicine and awareness, there is a huge gap in services for people who feel suicidal.
We established The Listening Place because we sincerely believed that more needed to be done to support the suicidal in the UK. Our approach was simple: free, face-to-face, ongoing support from the same volunteer trained to engage with suicidal feelings and support people through their darkest times. We do this without using a waiting list and it only costs us £250 for each individual supported.
Since delivering our first appointment in 2016, The Listening Place has grown quickly. In just six years, we have:
- Opened three bespoke centres across London.
- Increased the annual individuals supported from 165 in 2016 to 3862 in 2021.
- Increased the average number of referrals from 24 in 2016 each month to 500 each month in 2022.
- Trained 1100 volunteers to deliver our support.
- Won the 2019 Volunteer Team of the Year at the Third Sector Awards and Charity of the Year at the 2021 Charity Times Awards.
Most crucially, we have robust evidence that our support works. We combine qualitative feedback with quantitative data using the clinically-recognised Columbia Suicide Scale. Our latest evaluation of over 2000 individuals, led by Consultant Psychologist Sarah Davidson MBE and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stephen Platt showed that after an average of 4 months visitors experienced:
- Highly significant decreases in suicidal feelings (a drop of more than 43% on a ten point scale).
- Highly significant increases in experiences of support (an increase of 49% on a ten point scale).
How The Syncona Foundation has helped to accelerate The Listening Place’s growth
When we first received support from The Syncona Foundation, we had only a couple of members of staff and were still a small operation, open a few days a week at one site. Their core contribution enabled us to grow without compromising the elements which made our service unique.
In fact in the three years we have received funding from The Syncona Foundation we have achieved the following:
- Grown the number of suicidal people accessing the service by 245%
- Increased the average number of referrals each month by 237%.
- Grown the staff team from 5 to 24
- Added an additional 40 referral partners
- Continued to contact all referrals within 24 hours and offer a first appointment within a week
Core funding meant that we could achieve this in spite of a global pandemic and without using a waiting list. The Syncona Foundation has been a key part in increasing the accessibility of our support and making The Listening Place a key player in suicide prevention. With the charity joining Syncona’s main roster of charitable partners in 2021, this is a significant validation of the work we carry out, and will provide us with further support as we look to deliver on our upcoming priorities.
Ashley’s experience at The Listening Place.
“When I came to The Listening Place, I felt like my life is over. I couldn’t move forward. I felt like a complete failure. Suicidal thoughts were always at the back of my mind and I couldn’t think of any other solution to my problems.
TLP has helped me when I was in my darkest and most difficult place. I often felt so much lighter after appointments, and as though maybe life is not all so bad. I would not be here today without your help.
Feeling suicidal is so isolating. I was scared and TLP met me in that place, and helped me move to a place where I can look forward and think about living. I cannot thank you enough, especially my volunteer who was exceptional.”