A big thank you to everyone who supported the Samaritans’ awareness and fundraising event in St Anne’s on Tuesday July 24.

Volunteers from the Belfast branch of Samaritans were in the Cathedral all day, speaking to people and welcoming everyone who came in to make donations. They were supported by Cathedral staff.

As well as donations made on the day, all the takings from the admission fee charged to tour the Cathedral were donated to Samaritans. The event was part of a nationwide push called The Big Listen  to raise funds for Samaritans and show how really listening to another person can be the first step to saving a life.

Homeless people sleep rough on the streets of Belfast every night, many taking shelter in the areas around Belfast Cathedral. In supporting The Big Listen, the Cathedral aimed to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and rough sleepers and to signpost Samaritans as a support charity which can provide emotional and mental health support to those in need.

In the lead-up to the event, the Cathedral attached ‘Messages of Hope’ along its railings to show support to anyone who might be suffering.

Funds raised by The Big Listen will help Samaritans keep their services free for anyone who needs them, as well as helping to recruit, train and support volunteers across the Irish region.

Alan Heron, from the Samaritans in Belfast, said that as many as one in five people have thought about taking their own life at some point. “When people feel like that, they need to be able to talk about it, which means they need people to listen. As Samaritans volunteers, we know how much listening to someone at a really low point can help them feel less alone, more able to deal with difficult thoughts and feelings, and give them the time and space to reflect and move on.”

Holly Wilson, Marketing and Events Manager at Belfast Cathedral, said: “It was a really lovely day and it was great to see so many local and international guests making a donation and supporting a wonderful charity. I would also like to mention a special thank you to Loaf Catering who dropped down sandwiches, tray bakes and freshly baked scones. It was so appreciated.”

Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123, by emailingjo@samaritans.org, or by visiting www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to a trained volunteer face–to–face.


Dean Stephen Forde, the Rev Ian Mills and Events and Marketing Manager Holly Wilson welcomed people to the Cathedral on the day of the Samaritans' The Big Listen.

Dean Stephen Forde, the Rev Ian Mills and Events and Marketing Manager Holly Wilson welcomed people to the Cathedral on the day of the Samaritans’ The Big Listen.