Al-Khair Foundation, a well-known international charity that helps local, national and international projects, including loneliness and mental health, have donated £500 to local hospital charity ELHT&Me as part of a mental health initiative for patients at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT).

The project, which is led by hospital chaplain David Anderson, aims to improve support for patients within the hospital who may be suffering from a mental health issue.

The Chaplain wanted to ensure access to the Samaritans helpline that provides a 24/7 listening service by trained staff for people who are in crisis. Research shows that this service has a positive impact on people feeling suicidal.

“This project will give free access to all our patients at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital via the bedside phones to this important helpline where people can receive support and understanding in addition to existing care offered by the NHS,” said the Chaplain.

Imran Musa, Regional Manager at the Foundation, said they were “delighted” to assist with the project initiated by the hospital’s Chaplaincy department. “I hope that this service will make a big difference to the patients who may need this support whilst they are in the hospital,” he said.

Hospital Imam Fazal Hassan who is Muslim Chaplain and Religious Advisor, who helped access the funds, said: “The chaplaincy Department is extremely grateful to the Al-Khair Foundation for their support. This is yet another example of how local charities have stepped up to support a worthwhile local cause.

“The £500 paid for the software changes necessary for this to be implemented. Hospedia, who run the bedside phones system, have also very kindly agreed to fund the cost of the calls, although members of the public can contact the Samaritans free on their personal phones anytime on 116 123.”

Events Co-ordinator at Al-Khair Foundation, ZubairValimulla, promised to support “many more projects which will benefit the public at large.”