Austin's Blog


Austin’s charity donations continue

February 3rd, 2016    Author:
MD Claire Austin hands over cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans

MD Claire Austin hands over cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans

Since Austin’s Charitable Fund was set up in 2002, it has raised over £125,000 for community-based and local charities. This month, Austin’s managing director Claire Austin was delighted to hand over a cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans, the nominated charity for 2015.

Says Claire: We are delighted to have been able to help the SAMARITANS who provide an invaluable service by supporting people in our community.”

Other charities that have benefitted from Austin’s Charitable Foundation include Cancer Hair Care, Tracks Autism, The Living Room and Homestart. This year’s charity is Stevenage Haven which provides shelter and support for single homeless people.

Every year, a percentage of Austin’s profits goes towards a chosen charity. Austin’s are also able to donate money from their annual Christmas Carol Service at Harwood Park Crematorium as well as the sale of funeral service CDs. Money is also kindly raised through the generosity of bereaved families who donate to the charity in memory of a loved one.

Austin’s would like to thank everyone who has helped to raise money for their nominated charities over the years and look forward to continuing to raise money in 2016.

Pictured – Alan Chaney, Chair of Samaritans Friends, Claire Austin Managing Director of Austins Funeral Services, Leigh Grigson, Branch Director North Herts & Stevenage Samaritans, Janet Moss Deputy Director of Outreach at North Herts & Stevenage Samaritans.

2015 Christmas Carol Service – 16th December

November 16th, 2015    Author:

Our annual Christmas Carol Service takes place at Harwood Park on Wednesday 16th December at 7.30pm. Tickets are available free of charge by calling Harwood Park on 01438 815555. Mince pies and mulled wine will be served following the service.

This service is always busy and it’s a lovely way to remember those who will always been in our hearts but perhaps not in our lives.

Donations gratefully received for the Samaritans which is our charitable fund for 2015.


Christmas Carol Service 2015

North Herts and Stevenage Samaritans Support Other Organisations

June 2nd, 2015    Author:

Although Samaritans is a national organisation providing 24 hour support to people in emotional distress, it is made up of 201 branches across the UK and Ireland.

As well as manning the phones, email, text and face to face support at each branch, a significant amount of work is needed to promote awareness and partner  with other support groups locally.

The North Herts & Stevenage Branch, located in Hitchin, are involved in a number of efforts in our area as part of this effort.  This includes:

Presenting talks to local organisations and schools

We recently participated in a Stevenage initiative aimed at Primary School children to educate them about talking about their problems etc

We have a stand at the Lister Hospital on the first Wednesday of each month by the Wishing Well which has created a lot of interest from patients and staff

The Samaritans organisation has established a partnership with Network Rail nationally with the aim to recognise people in distress and make an intervention to offer support.  Locally we have a presence regularly at Stevenage, Hitchin, Knebworth and Biggleswade stations which includes supporting Network Rail staff, raising awareness and responding with Samaritan volunteers in the event of an incident – the support is for anyone involved – staff and passengers.

We partner with other local organisations supporting vulnerable people such as MIND, AA. Homeless shelters.  As part of this we make an appearance once a month at the Letchworth based Cheap as Chips who provide the opportunity for a cheap lunch and company to vulnerable people.

All the work is done by volunteers, there are no paid staff at local branches.  Many people give up their time to be at the end of the phone/email/text or talk face to face for people to be able to talk in confidence and anonymity without being judged, when they need to share their feelings of unhappiness or are trying to work out how to cope with life.

In order to keep the work going we need to keep the branches running which requires a lot of effort from the Fundraising team, known as Friends, which helps pay the bills – phone, electric, gas etc.  This involves activities such as collections at local supermarkets, attendance at local events, sponsored events such as runs, walks, cycles etc.

The fundraising we will receive from Austins will help in a number of areas.  Although this is still to be finalised, one area in particular that has already been identified is to help with training costs for Samaritans.  In order to provide all the services we need to, it is necessary to provide specialist training for the additional roles that volunteers take on following their initial intensive training to become Samaritans.  The type of activities the additional training includes are:

Train the Trainer


Recruitment & Selection


This training usually incurs a fee as well as travel expenses are they can be held in different parts of the country.

For anyone deciding to become a Samaritan it offers the opportunity to support your local community and people in need but it can also provide on a personal level the opportunity to develop new skills and life experiences.  We are always looking for new volunteers so if you would like to find out more please contact us on 01462 455333 or email us on:

To find out more visit our website at

North Herts And Stevenage Branch of Samaritans Named as Charity of 2015

April 14th, 2015    Author:

Austins have named the North Herts and Stevenage branch of Samaritans as our charity for 2015.  The branch are based locally in Hitchin.

Volunteers take telephone calls as well as face to face appointments and the branch has been established since 1971.  Samaritans work with other support groups in the area helping vulnerable people and those in need of emotional support such as mental health groups, homeless, addiction problems and others.

With activities such as ‘cheap as chips’, prison ‘listeners’ ‘Feet on the Street’ and working with Network Rail to support staff who have to deal with the effects of people committing suicide on the railway you can see that the work of Samaritans is vital  in the community.

To find out more about the activities of the local branch you can visit their website HERE or watch the outreach video HERE