Edinburgh suicide charity in funding plea to save vital services

A charity walk to raise funds marked the anniversary of Joshua Nolan.
A charity walk to raise funds marked the anniversary of Joshua Nolan.

AN Edinburgh charity which provides vital support to people at risk of suicide has issued an urgent appeal for funds to keep its doors open.

The Joshua Nolan Foundation was established in 2014 after founder Laura Nolan’s 22-year-old son Joshua died by suicide. Having experienced first hand how hard it can be to access the right services and support, Laura set up the charity to help others access specialist counselling.

With just over £5000 in its account, the charity is now under threat of closure if they can’t raise the urgent £15,000 needed to stay afloat – without it they will have folded within three months.

Chairman Matthew Middler said: “The rates of death by suicide in Scotland are higher than cancer, heart disease and road traffic accidents and it is the biggest killer of men under 45. The Joshua Nolan Foundation is important because we believe every suicide is preventable – our services could be the last chance to save the life of someone who is contemplating suicide.”

The charity provides counselling free of charge and wants to prevent people waiting for months to access therapy. Matthew said: “The government’s targeted us to provide therapy to those in need within 18 weeks but some have to wait even longer.” They aim to reach everyone but particularly those from areas of deprivation – who are statistically at greater risk of suicide and not normally able to pay for 
private treatment. The charity is currently operating a reduced provision with staff hours cut and volunteer trustees working round-the-clock to secure the much-needed funds.

The urgent plea is part of a wider campaign to raise £150,000 to invest in recruitment and training to support up to 300 people in Edinburgh and the east of Scotland over the next 18 months.

Matthew said: “A donation of £40 could cover one counselling session and £500 would pay for a block of sessions for one of our clients.”

The charity relies entirely on donations from local public and businesses to carry out its work and has provided lifeline services to around 42 people in Edinburgh and the Lothians since 2015. There are currently nine people receiving counselling provided by them.

This weekend saw the anniversary of Josh’s death marked by a fundraising walk around Arthur’s Seat. The Walk for Josh event took place on Saturday with 33 walkers braving the weather in honour of the former James Gillespie’s student and others lost to suicide. So far friends and family raised £290 from the day.

With an average of two people dying by suicide every day in Scotland and rates around 20 per cent higher than the UK average, there’s no time to waste, according to Matthew.

He said: “The Joshua Nolan Foundation has helped so many people already. Now more than ever we need the support of the public to continue providing these vital services.

“We’re calling on the generous people of Edinburgh to save us and to help keep our doors open to the many people who need our help.”

To donate go to https://mydonate.bt.com/events/savejnf.