Samaritans to visit Biggleswade, Hitchin and Stevenage stations as they launch Big Listen campaign targeting hairdressers

PUBLISHED: 10:38 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 17 July 2017

Samartitans volunteers will be helping hairdressers sharpen up their ilistening skills when working with clients.

Samartitans volunteers will be helping hairdressers sharpen up their ilistening skills when working with clients.

Archant

In a drive to encourage people to listen to those who need to talk, Stevenage and North Herts Samaritans are taking part in a national event called the Big Listen on Monday, July 24.

The Hitchin-based branch of the charity – which helps those going through difficult times – will team up with hairdressers, each of whom it estimates spend about 2,000 hours each year hearing about the ups and downs of people’s lives.

The charity will pass on a series of S-H-U-S-H tips to salons to help staff listen more effectively to people’s concerns.

On the day, volunteers from the Samaritans will be at Biggleswade, Knebworth, Hitchin and Stevenage train stations from 7am to 9am, handing out listening tips and highlighting the support available for the community.

On the same day Samaritans will also ask the nation to build their listening skills by using the S-H-U-S-H listening tips to help a friend, relative or family member who may be going through a tough time:

Wendy Roberts, who has been a listening volunteer at Samaritans for more than five years and fits volunteering around her job as a hairdresser, said: “Samaritans teaches you to listen in a very different way so I think it really benefits me, and enables me to really listen to people. I suppose the biggest thing is that a simple conversation can make such a huge difference to someone’s life.”

Samaritans believes listening to others is essential in bringing down the number of suicides. Every 90 minutes in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, someone takes their own life.

“Suicide is everybody’s business and we can all do our bit to encourage people to be better listeners and reach out for help if they need to,” said Gill McLearnon, branch director at North Herts and Stevenage Samaritans.

You can find more information on S-H-U-S-H tips online and at participating hair salons and barbers in Stevenage, Hitchin and the surrounding areas.

Since 1971 Samaritans of North Herts and Stevenage have been supporting people from all over the North Hertfordshire area including Hitchin, Stevenage, Letchworth, Baldock and the surrounding towns and villages.

Last year alone they dealt with 33,600 phone calls, 1,700 emails, 3,300 text messages and 40 visitors needing face to face support.

You can call them on 01462 455333, visit them at 5 Nuns Close, Hitchin or go online to www.samaritans.org/branches/samaritans-north-herts-and-stevenage.

There is also a Bedford-based branch and the Luton, South Beds and Harpenden Samaritans.

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