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  • Branch issues reminder as new insights from Samaritans reveal people are worried about their wellbeing over the festive period

  • Volunteers in Harrogate will be among around 1,500 volunteers expected to answer calls for help on Christmas Day.

Christmas will be a tough time for some even without a global pandemic to deal with, say Samaritans, as the charity’s latest research reveals that being separated from family and loved ones over the Christmas period is one of the biggest concerns facing callers.

New research with over 1,400 of the charity’s volunteers found around a quarter who took part in the survey (27%), have spoken to people who were feeling concerned about their wellbeing over Christmas and the winter period, over the past three months.

But volunteers at Harrogate will be there round-the-clock throughout December to make sure there’s someone there to listen to anyone who is feeling alone or struggling this festive season.

Liz Wilson – Director from Harrogate Branch shared why it’s so important to make sure there’s someone there to listen throughout the festive season. She said: “We know that Christmas can be difficult for many people, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home and that this might be heightened this year. Regardless of what happens with Covid restrictions, we want people to know that confidential support is available 24/7, and that we are there for everyone this Christmas.

“Every call for help is answered by a trained volunteer and talking to us is always free and confidential. Samaritans has never been a more vital lifeline. If you can make a donation to support our work this festive season, you’ll be helping to ensure that we can be there to listen not just at Christmas but throughout the year.

“And if you find yourself struggling this Christmas, please remember you don’t have to face things alone. You can talk to us, day or night, on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org.”

Volunteers at Harrogate Samaritans have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure their vital service is available around the clock for anyone who needs help. Since lockdown in March, Samaritans volunteers across the UK and Ireland have provided emotional support over a million times via phone, email and letters.

Jason, 50, felt his whole world had fallen apart one Christmas. After struggling with his mum’s death, breaking up with the mother of his son and the loss of his job, it all became too much.

Jason said: “The hardship faced by people trying to cope with the pandemic reminds me how overwhelming everything became for me at Christmas. Thankfully my ex-wife noticed my struggles and convinced me to pick up the phone to Samaritans.  Although it was one of the hardest things I have done – that phone call changed my life and put me on a new path. Samaritans gave me hope and helped me to find my purpose again.”

Last Christmas*, Samaritans, the only charity there for anyone struggling to cope 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, responded to over a quarter of a million calls for help** and over 10,000 calls for help came on Christmas Day alone.

Residents in Harrogate can help Harrogate Samaritans to be there for those who need emotional support this Christmas by making a donation to: https://www.justgiving.com/samaritans-harrogate

As little as £5 will help Harrogate Samaritans answer a call for help from somebody struggling this Christmas.

Samaritans of Harrogate and District are delighted that they have been selected to take part in the Co-op Local Community Fund. To help them make the most of this funding opportunity, here’s a few things you can do over the next couple of months. If you shop locally with any of the Co-op branches then please consider becoming a member and selecting Samaritans of Harrogate and District as your cause. You can join online at coop.co.uk/membership or by downloading the Co-op app

You can also help them by promoting this to your friends via their twitter page: @HgateSamaritans

To make a donation and find out other ways you can support Harrogate Samaritans please visit: https://www.samaritans.org/branches/harrogate/

* Christmas period refers to 1 December 2019 to 1 January 2020

** Statistics source: Samaritans, 2020

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