WITH Christmas now firmly out of sight, the local Samaritans have revealed that the number of calls received over the festive period dropped in 2018 compared to previous years.
The Samaritans provide a 24 hour service seven days a week, throughout the UK and Ireland for those who want to talk. Samaritans Coleraine branch Director Carol Nicholl described the fall in calls over the season of goodwill as “pleasing”.
Speaking to the Chronicle Carol said: “We had our usual calls at Christmas but nothing major to report and from our point of view things were not as busy as previous years which was quite surprising.”
“Christmas seemed to be a positive time overall which is nice as it can be an unpredictable time of year,” said Carol.
She added: “It was excellent to see local businesses and organisations reaching out to those less fortunate by providing food and taking people out for a warm meal.”
In the run up to Christmas, the local Samaritans carried out their annual Christmas collection in Coleraine town centre. Branch Director Carol indicated that they have received overwhelming support from the local community with a sum of money in the region of £4,000 raised to date.
The Samaritans also launched their 'Give the gift of listening and save a life' campaign on the build up to the festive season. The aim of the campaign was to help those who experienced difficulties or felt alone at Christmas. Approximately 10,000 volunteers participated in the campaign in an attempt to comfort those feeling lonely or distressed this year.
“It was very pleasing for us to see the high levels of support from within the local community as many people donated to us as they went about their business in the lead up to Christmas,” said Carol.
The Samaritans have also urged anyone who feels like they would like to talk can contact them on their free phone helpline number on 116 123 or call into your local branch.
*For the full story see this week's Coleraine Chronicle.