Thousands of volunteers prepared to listen this Christmas


More than 11,000 helpers will offer support through the Samaritans 

11th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Volunteers are giving up thousands of hours of their time this festive season to help those in need.

The Samaritans has estimated that its support will be on hand for a staggering 123,000 hours over the Christmas period to listen to anyone having a tough time.

More than 11,000 volunteers across the UK and Ireland will be working shifts for the charity to ensure its helpline is open round the clock, even on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

The charity expects mental health, family issues, isolation and loneliness to be the main issues raised by callers.

Samaritans’ volunteer Rosie Campbell said: “If you’re feeling overwhelmed, for whatever reason, it can be a lot worse for you on a day when it feels like everyone else is celebrating. I’m lucky that my Christmas is filled with people and good things. Breaking with tradition and being there on Christmas Day for others is a real privilege.”

Judith called Samaritans when she had a difficult Christmas. She said: "I was so unhappy and it spilled over into my family life. Having a Samaritan to talk to when I felt overwhelmed by my feelings was an important release for me. It was a way of managing life at a very stressful time.”

Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland said: “If you’re dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings, the festive season can make everything seem worse. Whether you’re on your own or feeling alone in a crowd, we don’t want anyone to struggle.”

The Samaritans is encouraging supporters to give the gift of listening by telling friends and family it’s ok to open up if something is troubling them. To make it easy, the charity has produced a set of vouchers that can be downloaded from its website to give as presents, offering yourself as a listening ear. You can invite someone to confide in you over a coffee, while out on a walk, or in whatever way you feel they will be most comfortable with.