‘We’re here for you over Christmas’

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The Sheffield branch of the Samaritans is gearing up to deal with calls from people struggling to cope during the festive season.

Volunteers at the charity’s Queens Road base will be on duty around the clock ready to listen to people with worries.

Andrea Day, director of Sheffield Samaritans, said: “This time of year can be extremely difficult and we want to let people know Sheffield Samaritans are here for anyone who finds themselves in difficult and distressing circumstances and may not know where to turn.

“When many other services shut down for the holidays, our volunteers continue to be available, answering calls, emails and texts.”

The branch answered more than 16,000 calls for help last year and the national helpline is preparing for 15,000 calls a day over the festive period.

Sheffield volunteer Jess, a recent graduate, who is volunteering over Christmas, said: “This will be my first Christmas Day shift at Sheffield Samaritans.

“I’m a recent graduate with a loving family, boyfriend and some amazing friends.

“When I joined Samaritans just over a year ago I felt it was time I helped people who were in extreme need and those who were often forgotten about.

“Though I’m only young, personal experience with extremely distressed individuals guided me towards Samaritans and I’ve never looked back.

“I am constantly aware that everyone is an individual and we all have different needs and require various kinds of support.

“Around Christmas I spend time with my family and friends in a homely environment surrounded with love.

“Sadly, this is not the case for everybody. Often loneliness, money issues and upset play a role around the festive season, as well as any other stress that people have.”

Sheffield Samaritans can be contacted on 0114 2767277 or 0845 909090, by email at jo@samaritans.org or by visiting www.samaritans.org