Bringing Light to someone in their darkest hour Northern Ireland Landmarks light up green for Samaritans ‘Longest Night’ campaign

21st December 2022

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Samaritans Longest Night Campaign 2022

Fermanagh and Omagh Council’s buildings will light up this week to mark Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

The longest night marks the start of the Festive season and lighting our local landmarks green gives us all a chance to reflect and an opportunity for Samaritans to remind everyone that the charity is on hand for anyone who may be struggling.

Christmas may be a time for festive cheer, but it can also be a particularly hard time especially this year when we are facing a cost of living crisis.

Last Christmas saw over 100 volunteers in Northern Ireland on duty on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Volunteers answered nearly 10,000 contacts over the Christmas period last year and the average length of a call on Christmas Day was nearly 25 minutes.

Eileen Ternan Samaritans Omagh Branch Manager said: ““Last year caller concerns included Illness, isolation, loneliness, money problems, relationship and family problems. This year especially, we want to remind everyone that volunteers across all eight branches will be available 24/7 over the Christmas period”.

Meeting with the branch to mark the campaign; Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh Council, Councillor Barry McElduff, said:

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to highlight the Samaritans’ longest night campaign which takes place on Wednesday 21 December 2022.

Christmas can be a lonely time of year for many people.  I would encourage anyone who is feeling lonely or struggling to reach out to the Samaritans.  They are there to listen and provide support to help you through whatever difficulty you are facing or whatever is on your mind.

It is also important for everyone to be aware that others may be struggling and just taking a few minutes to talk to someone or listen could make a real difference.”

Explaining what it means to volunteer on Christmas Day Samaritan Volunteer, Margaret, said:  “It’s no hardship to give up a few hours to listen to callers for whom Christmas brings no joy, no relief from loneliness or anxiety, grief or brokenness, no respite from the struggle just to keep going.”

Margaret continues: “When I’m listening to someone telling me their deepest feelings, talking about things they can’t share with anyone, time doesn’t matter. It’s a privilege to spend however long it takes for a caller to feel that they are cared for, that they have been – and will be – supported, and that they are not alone.

As the conversation draws to a close, when the caller says: “I feel much better now.  Thank you for listening,” there’s no better Christmas present.”

Eileen  Continues: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those landmarks lighting up for our longest night campaign and to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers who will be taking time out to be on duty over the festive period.”