COUNTY Antrim Shield winners, Ballymena United, have selected Ballymena Samaritans as their chosen charity for the coming year.
Speaking last week following the announcement, Utd.’s Community Relations Officer, Iain Black said: “We were initially approached by Ballymena Samaritans to discuss adding an advertising hoarding to the Showgrounds. However, we are delighted to take this relationship further and have agreed for the Samaritans to become our first official charitable partners.
“Sport offers an immediate avenue towards men in all age groups and we are confident this partnership can help raise awareness of the services on offer for those who need support.”
A sign will be on prominent display inside The Showgrounds, information days are being planned for selected home matches and events through the rest of the season will both raise awareness and sponsorship for The Samaritans.
The partnership with the club will be the perfect platform to raise awareness with as many people as possible – but crucially, also target a group considered most at risk.
“Statistics show that the highest suicide rates have changed in recent years from young males to those in the 30-45 year age range,” said Margaret Black, Ballymena Samaritans director.
“We are very excited about the potential benefits of this partnership with Ballymena United as spreading knowledge of our service to men is a prime goal”.
“Samaritans give people time to think and explore various options. They don’t judge. They offer time-limitless support. Samaritans help people find their way; their way”.
Margaret added: “You don’t have to be suicidal to make contact. Calls cover a wide variety of issues including relationship and family problems, loss of a job or bereavement, financial concerns, stress relating to the workplace or education and body image issues”.
The Ballymena branch includes around 70 active volunteers, some of whom have connections dating back to the formation of the branch. However there are a number of ways you can offer support without becoming a volunteer. Take part in fundraising events, give up an hour or two to help with a street collection or donate your old clothes for recycling would be some of the ways in which you could support your local branch.
The next fundraising event is a sponsored Abseil down The Europa Hotel in Belfast on Sunday, February 24, so if you would be interested in taking part please contact the branch or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. If you would like to make a donation go to Virginmoneygiving.com/charities/SamaritansOfBallymena
Telephone your local branch, in Mount Street, on (028) 2565 0000 (between 7.30pm-11.00pm daily), e-mail email@example.com or visit the branch between 4pm–10pm daily. Or if you need someone to listen phone 08457 90 90 90 at anytime and a volunteer will be there to support you.