The way to Begin a Charity

Almost 25 years ago, the CALM (Campaign Against Living Eliserably) charity for men was piloted in response to rising suicide rates among young men. Initiated by creatives Dave Gamble and Simon Labbett – now co-founders and ECDs of the London agency Truant – it was launched in 2006 as a full-fledged charity founded by Jane Powell.

“I think people didn't feel like they connected with the charities that were out there at the time, like the Samaritans. They thought they had something to do with religion or just didn't understand the problems they were going through. We really wanted to set up something that would really speak to them at their level, ”explains Gamble.

Since launch, CALM's campaigns have been inspired by music labels, from taking over Sankeys Soap in Manchester and partnering with Tony Wilson at Factory Records in the early days of the charity, to a short film hosted by dance music platform Resident Advisor just last week . The charity has also staged other creative campaigns, including the menacing installation of 84 life-size sculptures on the roof of the ITV building to represent the number of men who lose their lives each week.

The hotline has been inundated from the start and has grown over the years into a premier service in the UK for helping boys and men. However, during this time, calls from women to CALM also increased, and so Powell launched a new dedicated hotline for women and girls a few years ago and turned to Gamble and Labbett to get it off the ground.

Polly Fundraiser Prints by Margo McDaid

The newly established Polly service is a first point of contact for women, girls and anyone who identifies as a woman, and offers the opportunity to speak to female professional carers via a confidential hotline and web chat. The idea is not to go against other charities, but rather to work with them by helping women identify the problem and alerting them to other services if necessary. The aim is to take women through the many charities and explore the different avenues of support: “As Jane said, one of the realizations was that if you have a drinking problem, you are very unlikely to want to go to AA because you are concerned about yours Children are taken away or you admit a problem before you even go on that trip, ”says Gamble.

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