Ayrshire Samaritans – Helping Ayrshire Cope

Worksmart have recently completed a fit-out of the Samaritans new Branch in Kilmarnock town centre. Cathy and Hilary from the Samaritans sat down with our Digital Marketing Apprentice Kieran Johnstone to discuss how this will affect them.

KJ: Hi, what made you chose Worksmart to fit-out your new office?

AS: We chose Worksmart after a competitive tender process, with several other interior contracting companies tendering alongside them. We eventually chose yourselves due to your excellent reputation with small, medium-sized and large fit-outs as well as your continued support of our charity, with events such as your casino night and annual golf day helping to raise a large amount for our cause.

AS: We also couldn’t have managed to get these new offices without the help of East Ayrshire, who were excellent in supplying these new premises. With the building formally being the Johnsons’s Dry Cleaners, it provided a decent sized space that will allow our volunteers to help people.

KJ: What will this fit-out help you with the most?

AS: More than anything else, it will allow us to show that we are here. We are in the town centre of one of Ayrshire’s largest towns, and this Branch, with our bright colours, show that we are always here no matter what. Talk to us and you will always be listened to and emotional support given you can ring us for free on 116 123, visit us during our opening hours or email or text us. Please visit Samaritans.org.uk for all options.

KJ: I recently read an article all about mental health in the construction industry. Why do you feel these figures are so high?

AS: In times gone by, there was always a very masculine culture associated with construction, and this was also a largely male-oriented sector. It has also previously been mostly younger men who contacted us who make up the majority of the construction industry’s workforce. While times have changed for the better on some of these issues, there are still far too many lives lost in this industry. It is an alarming fact that there is significantly more deaths as a result of mental health-related causes than workplace accidents in construction. Worksmart are part of several schemes, including Mates in Mind, which aims to encourage workers in the interior sector to be more open with their problems, as well as provide training on how to deal with people suffering with issues.

The works on the Samaritans consisted of a medium-sized fast-track interior strip out and fit-out. The scope of the works included ceilings, partitions, joinery, mechanical and electrical services, fire alarms, power and lighting, decorations, flooring and furniture. We would like to thank all our suppliers and contractors that worked with the team and helped with donations of materials and labour.

There have been several visits to site throughout the project, beginning with a pre-start visit with several local councillors and politicians, who got to see the site before work began. There has also been a visit from Brian Whittle MSP, as well as Construction Management students from Ayrshire College, giving them valuable experience of an almost-complete site.

We would like to give special thanks to Ray Walkinshaw and Janice Steel from Ayrshire College, for their supplying of second hand furniture from the college free of charge. Overall this was a great project and a fantastic team effort all round.

The Samaritans new Branch will be opened on the 9th of June by the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire, John Duncan. Samaritans volunteers will be joined to celebrate this opening by representatives from Worksmart, businesses and local politicians who have helped Samaritans achieve their new branch.

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