An Introduction from Samaritans Chief Executive Officer, Peter Gardiner

I am delighted to have joined Samaritans as the new Chief Executive Officer and I am very excited at the prospect of working closely with the Diocese of Newcastle. My professional career has spanned the fields of community services, health and most recently disability within both the government and non-government sector. I have a deep passion for community services work and have spent time in leadership positions within Anglicare Sydney, NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care and CatholicCare Sydney.

It is truly an honour to join such a wonderful organisation and be part of an extraordinary and compassionate team. Since taking on the role in February, 2016 I have been fortunate enough to visit a number of Samaritans services throughout the region. I have seen the way this organisation touches lives and provides opportunities to those living in disadvantage.

One thing that has stood out to me during this time is that a great number of our services only exist because of our very kind supporters across the Diocese. This support is vital in ensuring the sustainability and success of Samaritans services that do not receive government funding:

  • Samaritans Student Accommodation provides young people who are at risk of homelessness with supported accommodation, education and employment opportunities.
  • Another vital service that relies on donations is Samaritans post-release programs. Programs such as Friendship House and Recovery Point support those returning from correctional facilities, encouraging them to stay out of the prison system, and not return to crime.
  • Samaritans network of Emergency Relief Centres relies on volunteers who give up their time to provide local families with immediate assistance; and on our donors who provide food and vouchers throughout 12 locations.

The generosity throughout the Diocese inspires me to continue the great work of Samaritans with a mindfulness of upholding the core values of compassion, integrity and justice. Samaritans will continue to play a significant role in delivering services to children, young people and families throughout the Diocese of Newcastle and will maintain its commitment to the Anglican and wider community.

Looking forward I am eager to apply my 35 years of experience in human services as I lead the agency to tackle challenges and seize the many opportunities that lie ahead. Samaritans will continue to be a strong voice on issues of social justice and social inclusion. We will advocate strongly for people to have more control over their lives, and the NDIS is one way of doing that. Samaritans is well-positioned to take these opportunities forward and provide much-needed support to those who are most vulnerable in our community.

Over 11,800 people are assisted through our network of Emergency Relief Centres each year.
Over 2,100 young people are supported through Samaritans Youth Programs.
Over 800 people are assisted through Samaritans Homeless Support and Refuge services.

I look forward to continuing this fine work and engaging closely with parishes and individuals throughout the Diocese in the coming months and years.