St Albans suicide prevention charity OLLIE hit fundraising target early

PUBLISHED: 15:28 19 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:28 19 August 2016

SafeTALK training in St Albans

SafeTALK training in St Albans

Archant

Eight months after an organisation was set up to provide suicide prevention support in schools, it has reached its fundraising target and expanded.

Morgan FalconerMorgan Falconer

The OLLIE (One Life Lost Is Enough) Foundation was set up in January by three parents whose children killed themselves, one of whom, 15-year-old Morgan Falconer, hailed from St Albans.

The charity set out to fund ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and safeTALK training in St Albans schools to better equip them with how to spot signs that students were having suicidal thoughts.

Eight months on and as of last week, the now registered charity has met its initial £30,000 target and some training has already been carried out.

In July professionals from local schools attended half a day of safeTALK training, which aims to help people identify the first signs that someone is contemplating suicide.

OLLIE’s timeline of events

January 2016 - After meeting at a parents support group, the three original trustees, Stuart, Chris, and Jane met to discuss the possibility of starting up a charity.

February 2016 - Trustees agreed to create the OLLIE Foundation with a few fundraising events in the pipeline and other members on board. People to take on training agreed. Began to look at the long-term strategy and aims. Fundraising target of £30,000 set.

March 2016 - Facebook and Twitter set up alongside a fundraising page [https://www.givey.com/theolliefound]

April 2016 - The first training dates were agreed.

May 2016 - The number of people involved in the charity increased, with different teams beginning to take shape.

June 2016 - Charity number officially confirmed

July 2016 - First trustee meeting and OLLIE safeTALK training takes place

August 2016 - Subgroups in the charity are created. £30,000 target reached. In the process of increasing number of trustees to 11.

Wendy Henrys, who is the first OLLIE trainer, was at the safeTALK training.

She said: “The three founding families are living through the horror of losing a child through suicide. This will be with them, their extended families, friends and colleagues forever.

“The more people who know about the training and choose to attend will reduce the number of other families who will suffer the pain of our three founding families. The families are doing something very practical to make a difference in our district, and beyond, to save lives.”

She added that she thought the training was very effective and said that the feedback from participants stated it was insightful and educational.

Gill Maskatiya, from Sandringham School, which Morgan attended, said: “[It is] essential training for anyone working with young people.”

But this is only the beginning for the charity, which is in the process of expanding the number of trustees from three to 11.

The main aim of the charity is still to provide ASIST training to professionals working with young people, but it has now set a long-term aim to work with other organisations and services.

Stuart Falconer, Morgan’s dad, said: “We want to work with organisations working with young people to complement each other. We want to be able to signpost to other people that can help people who are struggling. We also want to provide access to bereavement services.”

He added: “I’m hoping the volunteers will help us with the future lifeblood of the charity, hopefully creating a group specifically for young people to join as after all, they are the target audience and we need to be engaging with them in a very different way than what we currently do.”

OLLIE has also been selected to be one of The Funding Network for St Albans’s four charities for their first crowd funding event on September 2.

There will be another safeTALK training session on October 1. For more information email Wendy: wendy@henrys.uk.net

Wendy added: “We also want to provide free training for sixth formers as some teenagers are perhaps more likely to speak to a friend or peer than speak to an adult.

“The training will also be with them through their lives if they are ever concerned about someone in the future. For OLLIE, getting the training to the younger age group means someone in need will be helped to see they have more choices than ending their life.”

For more information please visit OLLIE’s Facebook page and you would like to donate please visit: https://www.givey.com/theolliefound

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