A light in the dark to highlight Samaritans

The Guildhall will be lit up green on December 21.
The Guildhall will be lit up green on December 21.

Derry City and Strabane District Council will be signalling their support for the Samaritans on the longest night of the year by lighting the Guildhall and its Strand Road offices green.

The move will take place during the Winter Solstice (December 21) and is designed to help remind people across the city that the Samaritans charity is there to support them 24/7 over Christmas and the New Year.

Welcoming the move, which was requested by the local branch of the Samaritans, Mayor of Derry & Strabane Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said: “I am delighted that Council is supporting this important initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the help and support that is available for people who find themselves struggling to cope over the festive period.

“December 21 is a particularly poignant date – as it is the Winter Solstice and longest night of the year. Indeed, when people are feeling overwhelmed, the night time can be particularly tough.

“The Samaritans also get a lot of calls at night from those who need to talk about their feelings of distress or despair and feel they have no one else to turn to.”

Mayor McHugh added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the excellent work of the Samaritans’ staff in the Clarendon Street office, and all of the volunteers who selflessly give of their own time to offer emotional support to people in distress or despair, including those who are suicidal.

“It is therefore vital for people throughout the city and district to know that they can contact the Samaritans any hour of the day or night over the festive period – particularly when they feel life is overwhelming.”

If something is troubling you over Christmas and the New Year period, people are urged to get in touch with the local branch of the Samaritans. To contact them telephone number 02871 265511 (local call charges apply) or the 24/7 National Freephone number 116 123.