Posted on Tuesday 5th December 2023
Ann Edgeller and Damon Preece
People in Staffordshire are being reminded that during their darkest hours they’re not alone this Christmas and New Year.
Staffordshire County Council has partnered with Staffordshire Samaritans again this year to illuminate windows and buildings green across the county on Friday 22 December, the longest night of the year.
Initially launched for Christmas 2022 the campaign is back for 2023 and this year the organisers are aiming for it to be even bigger and brighter.
The campaign aims to remind anyone in need that the Samaritans are there for them, with its support line open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
County council buildings including Shire Hall in Stafford will be lit up green and residents will be encouraged to join in by showing a green light in their window and posting photos on social media.
Last year buildings across the county joined the campaign with The National Memorial Arboretum, New Vic Theatre, Tamworth Castle and Lichfield Cathedral all lighting up green on the longest night.
Cllr Ann Edgeller, Mental Health Champion at Staffordshire County Council said:
“This time of year can be especially challenging for people, for all sorts of reasons.
“Family problems, financial worries, or the grief for the loss of a loved one can be magnified during the festive season. Samaritans volunteers do vital work and we’re extremely grateful that people who are struggling always have someone to turn to.
“Illuminating the longest night is a simple way of showing people that they have someone to talk to if they’re feeling upset or lonely over Christmas. They don’t have to struggle alone, whatever difficulties they’re facing, help and support is available.”
Stafford Samaritans volunteer and regional officer Damon Preece, said:
“With the ongoing cost of living pressures , things might feel even harder for people this Christmas. We believe now more than ever before, people who are struggling need to know that Samaritans will be there for them 24 hours a day, including Christmas Day.
“Last year, Samaritans volunteers responded to over 14,500 calls in the UK and Ireland on Christmas Day. This year, as always, our volunteers in Staffordshire will be there to make sure that people who are struggling have someone to turn to.
“It is wonderful that Staffordshire County Council are joining us to mark the longest night and help us reach local people highlighting our service to those who may never have had to contact us before.”
People who want to join the event by shining a green light in their window and displaying a poster on the longest night can find out more on the campaign webpages.
Anyone feeling lonely or facing difficulties can contact Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123, even from a mobile without credit and the number won’t show up on their phone bill.