Lifeline Newcastle and Hunter to merge with Lifeline Central Coast

LIFELINE Newcastle and Hunter is assuring local residents that vital services will not be lost despite merging with its Central Coast counterpart.

Lifeline runs clothing and bric-a-brac shops across the region as well as a 24-hour telephone support centre, which serves distressed residents dealing with suicidal thoughts, financial difficulties and personal crises.

Lifeline Newcastle has been running for the past 48 years, while the Central Coast branch has been operational for 33.

Together the two centres help more than 20,000 people each year, with up to 300 volunteers working across the two sites on any given day.

Lifeline Newcastle and Hunter chief executive Kay Chapman said the merger was triggered by the resignation of the Central Coast chief executive.

Ms Chapman said the merger would allow funds to be freed up for more counselling services.

Administration resources will be shared between the two regions but donations made by individuals or corporates will stay in region they were donated in.

Clothes collected across the two regions will now all be sorted in Newcastle and transported back down the coast.

Ms Chapman said about 80 per cent of funds raised by Lifeline went directly back into helping people, which was "very high" compared with other non-profit organisations.

Lifeline only receives 20 per cent of its budget from the government and relies heavily on public donations.

Ms Chapman said the merger would help sustain Lifeline for the future.

"The staff have been really good and embraced the change," she said.

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