Making space for Samaritans: a huge thank you

by Leeds Building Society

You probably already know, but here at Leeds Building Society we’ve been incredibly proud to sponsor Leeds Rhinos since 2006 – the longest front shirt sponsorship in Super League history.

And you may have also already seen that back in the summer we did something very special with that partnership…

Bringing Leeds Rhinos together with our national charity partner Samaritans, we chose to shine a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing. In fact, we actually replaced our Leeds Building Society front shirt logo position with Samaritans’ logo, for one very special Rhinos takeover match. The first time ever in the history of Super League!

You can read more about how we made space for Samaritans on our Knowledge Base.

After the match…

Firstly, and most importantly, our Making Space for Samaritans event was about raising awareness and raising money. So along with the £1,097 raised on the night for Samaritans, we got people thinking and talking about mental wellbeing. And reminded them that – if you’re every struggling to cope - Samaritans are here to help 365 days a year.

We also wanted to make sure our limited edition Samaritans/Rhinos shirts found good homes – and raise a little more money at the same time!

So we decided to hold a silent auction across 11 of our Yorkshire based branches: Adel, Horsforth, Harrogate, Wetherby, Leeds City Centre, Ripon, Moortown, Morley, Yeadon, Crossgates and Garforth.

Members were invited to bid for their chance to own one of the 25 takeover shirts, ultimately raising an additional £1,145 for Samaritans. All the shirts on offer had been worn on the day by the players and then signed. So as a group, they really are one of kind.

Then as a special thank you to our auction winners, we offered the chance to have their shirts presented by Rhinos own Liam Sutcliffe.

Reflecting on the takeover

Looking back on all the #MakingSpace activity, our CEO Richard Fearon said: “By making space for Samaritans on the front of the Leeds Rhinos shirt for a one-off game we were able to help raise awareness of the charity’s work and the dedication of its 20,000 volunteers.

“It’s been great to see how many members placed bids to get one of the unique shirts and the money raised will be added to our fundraising efforts, which have now surpassed the £300,000 mark.”

None of this could have happened without the ongoing support of our members and all the Rhinos fans who bought tickets to the takeover match back in August. Almost £9,000 of the full £300,000 we’ve raised for the Samaritans has come from activities and initiatives involving Leeds Rhinos and their fans. So a massive thank you from all of us here at Leeds Building Society.

Ultimately #MakingSpace for Samaritans has really helped to show what we’ve always believed – that when people help people, good things happen.