Buildings were lit up green for the first time in Staffordshire last night to remind people that they’re 'not alone during their darkest hours' this Christmas and New Year.
Staffordshire County Council has partnered with Staffordshire Samaritans to illuminate windows and buildings green across the county as part of a new campaign during the festive season.
The campaign aims to remind residents and anyone in need that the Samaritans are there for them, with its support line open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Several county council buildings, including the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford, have been lit up green.
Residents are being encouraged to join in by showing a green light in their window and posting photos on social media.
Cllr Ann Edgeller, Mental Health Champion at Staffordshire County Council, said: “This time of year can be challenging for all sorts of reasons.
“Whether its family problems, financial worries or the grief for the loss of a loved one, the festive season can often magnify issues.
"And this year, with many households facing additional Cost of Living pressures it may be especially hard for them.
“We’re extremely grateful for the vital work of Samaritans volunteers who are there around-the-clock to make sure people who are struggling always have someone to turn to.
“Illuminating the longest night is a simple way of showing people that they have someone to talk to if they’re feeling lonely or upset over Christmas.
"They don’t have to struggle alone, whatever difficulties they’re facing, help and support is available.”
Stafford Samaritans volunteer and regional partnerships officer Damon Preece, said: “We believe this Christmas, more than ever before, people need to know that Samaritans will be there for them 24 hours a day, including Christmas Day.
“Last year, Samaritans volunteers responded to 244,254 calls in the UK and Ireland over the festive period and our volunteers in Staffordshire will be there round-the-clock to make sure that people who are struggling always have someone to turn to.
“It is wonderful that Staffordshire County Council are joining us to mark the longest night and help us reach local people highlighting our service to those who may never had to contact us before.”
Anyone who is feeling lonely or facing difficulties can contact Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123, even from a mobile without credit and the number won’t show up on their phone bill.