Recession fuels calls for help

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NUMBERS of calls to Sheffield Samaritans have doubled since the start of the economic downturn three years ago.

As financial pressures increase over Christmas and the New Year, the organisation is running a poster campaign on the buses to highlight the availability of its helpline throughout the festive period.

Across the country, Samaritans say one in five calls this year were about job concerns, housing problems, debt and other financial pressures, compared with one in ten calls in 2008.

And the situation is mirrored in the Sheffield area.

Bernie Hutchcroft, branch director of Sheffield Samaritans, said: “Samaritans receives over 27,000 calls a year in Sheffield and, since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the number of people calling us about their money worries has doubled.”

She added: “If you’re struggling to cope with the challenges you’re facing in these difficult times, we’d encourage you to get in touch with Samaritans.

“Our service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available throughout the Christmas period.”

A Samaritans survey indicated that 58% of people in Yorkshire and the Humber feared they would not have enough money to live comfortably in the coming year.

Nearly a third were concerned about losing their job or having difficulty finding work.

While problems with money, family and friends and health dominated calls, it was also shown to be the region in the UK where people worried most about their sports team.

And the survey suggested the importance of small acts of kindness, such being given a compliment, a smile or a hug.

Sheffield Samaritans are based in Queens Road. Tel 276 7277.