Monday 17 Jan 2022
Network Rail and GWR get on board for Samaritans’ Brew Monday
Rail industry joins charity to encourage rail users, including key workers and staff, to have a cuppa and a catch up with those they care about as the charity’s annual campaign launches
In a bid to power through the cold winter months, Network Rail and GWR have joined Samaritans to encourage rail users, including key workers and rail staff, to share a cuppa and a catch up with someone they care about for Brew Monday.
Rail colleagues will join Samaritans volunteers at stations across the region, including Swindon, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucester, Kemble, Exeter St Davis and Exeter Central, where they’ll be handing out teabags and talking to passengers about the importance of reaching out for a chat.
While the third Monday in January is sometimes referred to as ‘the most difficult day of the year’, the charity is highlighting that there’s no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ as people can feel a range of emotions any day of the year. Although winter is thought to be one of the harder seasons with dark days and frosty nights, Samaritans volunteers hear similar concerns all year round from those that contact the charity. The main concerns include mental health and illness (46%), family (34%) and loneliness (28%)*.
So, to ensure nobody struggles alone, on Brew Monday or any other day, Samaritans, Network Rail and GWR are reminding everyone to check in on friends, family or colleagues. It doesn’t need to be a Monday or a cup of tea, it’s about connecting and really listening to each other.
In a bid to uplift and inspire rail users in these uncertain times, artwork by Britain’s Got Talent contestant and food artist Nathan Wyburn, former Samaritans volunteer, illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary wellbeing artist Emelie Hryhoruk, who has called Samaritans for support in the past, will be featured on rail station digital screens from 17 January.
Kerry Elton, head of route human resources for Network Rail’s Western route said: “We know that this time of year can be difficult for many, especially as we enter a new phase of the pandemic.
“Talking to others can really help, which is why we’re pleased to be supporting Brew Monday. Something as simple as sharing a cup of tea and a chat can make a real difference to someone who may be struggling, so I’d encourage everyone to take five minutes and have a chat with a friend, colleague or family member to help banish the winter blues.”
GWR Human Resources director Ruth Busby said: “In these uncertain times it’s more important than ever that we reach out to one another and lend a listening ear.
“It’s why we’re so pleased to be supporting Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign again this year and spreading this important message to our customers.
“We’re encouraging people to recognise the power of human connection and start a conversation which could save a life. This Brew Monday we’re saying out with the blue and in with the brew!”
Julie Bentley, Samaritans’ CEO said: “We’re so grateful to the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday again this year. Throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions, the pandemic has shown us that staying connected with others has been a vital part of getting people through difficult times. We know the impact talking and listening can have, and a cup of tea and a chat won’t solve everything, but it can be a start. You don’t have to have all the answers or solutions, you just need to listen and start a conversation which could just be the support that someone needs.”
The Brew Monday support comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme and partnership with Network Rail. Samaritans has worked in partnership with the rail industry and British Transport Police to reduce suicides on the railway for over 10 years, having trained over 24,000 rail and BTP staff to look out for passengers and make conversation if they feel someone might be vulnerable.
Notes to Editors
- Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email email@example.com or visit samaritans.org.
- Every day, Samaritans volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls for help.
- Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Find out how you can support us or volunteer with us.
- You can follow Samaritans on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry since 2010 to reduce suicides on the railway and support those affected by them. Samaritans has trained over 24,000 rail and BTP staff in suicide prevention and runs awareness campaigns to encourage the public and their staff to start a conversation and recognise the power of human connection to help save lives.
- When reporting on suicide, please bear in mind Samaritans’ Media Guidelines. For further advice, contact the Media Advisory team on 07483 028725/07850 312224 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- *From December 2020 – November 2021, 46% of contacts that reached out to Samaritans for emotional support mentioned mental health and illness, 34% mentioned family and 28% mentioned loneliness as a concern.
- All station events are within current Government guidelines and subject to last-minute changes
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.