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National charity re-launches www.samaritans.org to provide safe place for users in distress


The Samaritans today (19 November) launches a new, easy to use website aimed at providing a discreet, safe and reassuring source of information and support to users in distress. Uniquely, www.samaritans.org will be a "no-logo" site, giving users in public environments the option of turning off The Samaritans’ logo to minimise the possibility of attracting attention while seeking support. Based on the concept of a "talking" website, www.samaritans.org forms an intuitive and interactive resource which streams users direct to relevant pages by talking them through navigation options.

Designed by Wheel, the site is intended to be an easily navigable source of information for supporters, students and professional services as well as those in need of The Samaritans’ service or worried about a friend or relative. The new site goes live to coincide with the launch of The Samaritans’ Christmas fundraising campaign, and will replace a website first launched in 1996.

Simon Armson, chief executive of The Samaritans:

"The Samaritans has always used the cutting edge of technology to meet our commitment to be there 24-hours a day for anyone who needs us. The new website will enable us to meet even more people on their own territory, and to provide a warm, supportive and non-judgemental space on the internet."

Gord Ray, Client Partner, Wheel:

"Developing a new internet site for The Samaritans represented a variety of unique challenges. We needed to ensure that the site communicated effectively to a very diverse target audience including people needing support, wanting to offer support and looking for more information about suicide in the UK. We were also required to find an engaging look and feel that was not cliché and did not trivialise the subject matter. The result is a clean, yet warm and engaging site that is intuitive to use."

The Samaritans also launches an appeal for funds today (19 November) to help cope with its busiest time of year. Calls to The Samaritans’ national number went up by 6% over the Christmas period last year. A new NOP poll reveals that financial worries, family pressures and the current world situation will make this Christmas a difficult time for 60% of the population. At the same time, almost one in ten people say that there is no-one they will turn to for support turn when Christmas becomes too much.


Screen grabs of the new Internet site are available from Xavier Adam (xav.adam@xavadam.com)

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Notes to the Editor

The Samaritans is a registered charity, founded in 1953, which offers 24-hour confidential emotional support to anyone in emotional distress. The Samaritans' vision is for a society where fewer people die by suicide because people are able to share feelings of emotional distress openly without fear of being judged. The Samaritans believes that offering people the opportunity to be listened to in confidence, and accepted without prejudice, can alleviate despair and suicidal feelings. The service is offered by 18,700 trained volunteers and is entirely dependent on voluntary support.

Across the UK, you can call The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland) for the price of a local call. You can also write to The Samaritans at Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA, send an e-mail to jo@samaritans.org or use the single national textphone number 08457 90 91 92 (1850 60 90 91 in the Republic of Ireland).

Donations can be made to The Samaritans by calling 08709 00 00 32 or visiting http://www.samaritans.org/donate

Branches of Lloyds TSB will also be accepting donations throughout the festive season.


About Wheel

Wheel advise on, design and develop digital channel solutions, covering internet (intranet and extranet), iTV WAP and emerging technologies such as wireless internet. Wheel has won numerous awards, most recently a BAFTA in Interactive Entertainment awards 2001 for www.marconicalling.com and 3 Visa eTail 2000 awards for www.argos.co.uk. Part of the Primecom Group, Wheel is one of the most successful digital communications agencies in the UK. Headcount is 75 and anticipated turnover in 2001 £9m.


To find out more about Wheel visit http://www.wheel.co.uk

Regards

Xavier Adam
Xavier Adam Public Relations

T 44 (0) 7887 955352
F 44 (0) 706 9929341

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