Reported by Fife Today – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

As tinsel and fairy lights adorn the streets up and down the country, it can be easy to overlook how the festive season can be the hardest time of the year for some.

But volunteers at Kirkcaldy Samaritans will be working throughout this festive season to make sure there’s someone there to listen for anyone who is struggling.

Last Christmas, Samaritans – the only charity that is there for anyone struggling to cope 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – responded to more than 300,000 calls for help.

And in Scotland alone, volunteers took more than 15,000 calls for help over the festive season, including over 400 on Christmas day alone.

On Christmas Eve 2018, almost 1,650 dedicated Samaritans volunteers were reporting for duty at Samaritans branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The very next day, over 1,475 Samaritans volunteers headed to branches and responded to thousands of calls for help from people feeling overwhelmed on December 25.

In Scotland, 140 volunteers gave up their time between on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be there to listen for anyone who was struggling to cope.

Each volunteer answered an average of 12 calls per Christmas shift, with callers sharing a wide range of personal challenges from mental and physical health struggles to family issues, relationship problems and loneliness.

However, Sheila Ottiwell, deputy director at Kirkcaldy Samaritans, told the Press the volunteers in the town branch don’t notice a large increase in calls at Christmas as they are busy all year round.

She said: “To be honest we don’t receive more calls at this time of year than at any other because we are so busy all the time. We get a call every six seconds and that’s the whole organisation nationwide.



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