Samaritans’ awareness raising campaign We Listen is set to reach more travellers and commuters after the rail industry offered to feature it on the back of train tickets for free. Former Olympic champion boxer Audley Harrison MBE, who is fronting the campaign, was given the very first ticket – a giant-sized version to match his heavyweight status.
Printing on the reverse of paper tickets will feature Samaritans’ logo and free to phone number, 116 123, plus the campaign strapline line, ‘We don’t just hear you, we listen.’ The aim is to encourage anyone going through a tough time to contact Samaritans.
Audley Harrison MBE said: “It’s a strength, not a weakness, to reach out for help. Let’s all get behind this campaign and let people know that if they don’t have to go it alone with their problems. If you don’t want to talk to friends or family, or feel you have nowhere to turn, Samaritans will listen. They’re fee to call and it won’t even show up on your phone bill.”
The sports star was presented with the outsize ticket at his old boxing club, the historic Repton Boys Club in Bethnal Green in London’s East end. Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and train operators, and is responsible for National Rail tickets made the presentation. Paul said: “Millions of rail tickets are sold every day so we’re only too pleased to support Samaritans’ We Listen campaign and help make sure people know where to turn when they’re finding life tough.”
Paul McDonald, Samaritans’ Executive Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns, said:
“It’s so powerful to have Audley Harrison fronting our campaign. This is an opportunity to reach out to millions more people with our free helpline number. We’re pleased to have the support of the rail industry on ticket publicity as part of our wider rail programme, which aims to raise awareness that anyone can contact Samaritans, whatever you’re going through.”
Samaritans’ We Listen campaign message is that while it’s easy to hide your feelings, when someone really listens, which is what Samaritans volunteers do, you’re more likely to open up and start working through your problems.
Posters in railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales contain hidden messages where people claiming to be fine reveal that they’re not OK at all. One says ‘I’m alright with being single I guess. It’s not ideal for the kids, but they seem to be coping’, the real message being, ‘I’m not coping’.
Another says ‘I’m going to be alright. It’s not so bad spending a lot of time alone,’ where the reality is ‘I’m so alone’. Adverts on ticket barriers in stations carry campaign messages too.
In its first two months, since launching on 23 February 2016, Samaritans’ We Listen campaign has been visible to tens of millions of travellers across the UK and featured heavily in the press, as well as on radio and TV. Online, its 360 degree video illustrating how hard it is to really listen when someone is trying to tell you they are struggling has been viewed more than 400,000 times.
You can call Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123 (you don’t even need credit and this number won’t show up on your phone bill), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.