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Charity spotlight: The Maytree Respite Centre

Charity spotlight: The Maytree Respite Centre

3 min read

One of the charities that Tyl by NatWest supports through our Giveback Community Fund is the Maytree Respite Centre, a national suicide prevention charity that provides free, face-to-face befriending support for adults considering suicide.

We’re delighted to be able to make a difference by helping Maytree help others get through their bleakest moments and look forward to a brighter future.

Maytree’s vision is that everyone considering suicide should have someone to talk to and somewhere safe to be. It offers a free, five-day stay in its house in North London for anyone in suicidal crisis. Through a model called befriending, Maytree’s trained volunteers listen to its guests without judgement, and with warmth, compassion and kindness. Staff and volunteers create time and space for guests to reflect, feel heard and rediscover why life is worth living.

Angie’s story

One person who might not still be here without Maytree is Angie*. An A&E nurse for 10 years, Angie felt she could no longer handle the everyday tragedies that were part of her job. She shared that the pressure of the past 18 months had been too much, and she was looking for help. A recent shift at work had left her feeling completely empty after witnessing three traumatic deaths, including that of a premature baby.

Over five weeks of befriending calls, volunteers learned that Angie wanted to vocalise her darkest thoughts without the risk of being sectioned or implications for her career. It was mutually agreed that she might benefit from a stay at Maytree while she decided on her next steps.

At the centre, Angie spent nearly 20 hours in one-on-one befriending sessions with 15 different volunteers. Initially apprehensive, she slowly started talking about everything that she had suppressed. She was unable to sleep and kept seeing dead bodies everywhere, hearing people cry, and she just wanted it to stop. She wanted to jump in front of a train and end it all. She felt broken inside and utterly defeated.

As a result of these discussions, Angie realised she could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), although she could hardly believe it after a decade of coping with the stresses of her job so well. Staff suggested she book an online session with a therapist specialising in PTSD in soldiers, and Angie found the session very useful.

Ending her stay planning to go for more therapy and explore activities and friendships away from work, Angie told Maytree: “This was an amazing place, giving me the chance to talk about situations and emotions I would not voice on the outside... I now feel hopeful about starting therapy with the trauma specialist Maytree has put me in touch with."

Tyl’s vital financial support

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis straight after a debilitating pandemic, the need for Maytree’s services looks certain to increase. We‘re glad that our donation is being put to good use and helping Maytree continue providing its life-saving services. In fact, it’s opening a second house in Greater Manchester – a region with one of the highest rates of suicide in the country.

If you’re feeling suicidal or know of someone who could benefit from Maytree’s support, it’s here to help you. Maytree offers confidential advice and support, with no pressure to take things further if you don’t want to.

You can get in touch on 020 7263 7070 or at [email protected], or you can visit its website at

*Not her real name

More about Giveback

The Giveback Community Fund is at the heart of our business here at Tyl: with every card transaction our customers take, we donate a portion to the Giveback Community Fund, to support good causes. So, the more successful our Tyl customers are, the bigger the Tyl Giveback Community Fund grows, the bigger the impact we can have in our customers’ local communities – it’s a win-win-win situation. We hope to bring more and more charities into the Giveback fold as time goes on. Watch this space.

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