Banbury pubs change beer mats to offer listening ear at Christmas

Samaritans beer mats at The Three Pigeons, Banbury. Tina Laird, owner, left and Lara McDonagh, right, front of house. NNL-171219-123111009
Samaritans beer mats at The Three Pigeons, Banbury. Tina Laird, owner, left and Lara McDonagh, right, front of house. NNL-171219-123111009

Two Banbury pubs are supporting a Samaritans initiative to offer vulnerable people someone to talk to over the Christmas period.

The Reindeer and The Three Pigeons are changing their normal beer mats for ones bearing the Samaritans’ information for those in personal crisis at Christmas.

Ben White, assistant manager of The Reindeer, said: “Samaritans is a fantastic charity and we are delighted to support them in raising awareness and reaching out to everyone who needs someone to talk to this Christmas.

“This is particularly important for men, who often find it difficult to talk about their feelings and to ask for help when they need it most.”

Phil Cliff, outreach volunteer at Banbury and District Samaritans, said: “Sadly 6,188 people took their own life in the UK in 2015.

“Approximately three-quarters of those were men.

“It is widely recognised there is a huge issue with men feeling unable to talk about their feelings which often leads to them becoming desperate and sometimes suicidal.”

“To raise awareness among men, particularly young men, and help them find the courage to talk about how they feel when things are getting on top of them, we are targeting venues where men meet with simple ‘signposts’ they can see, read and file away without feeling embarrassed.

“It might be an information card in a gym locker or, as with the pubs, a drink mat on the bar.

“We can all find it difficult to talk to a loved one or mate about how we’re feeling and that’s when talking to Samaritans confidentially can help, 24 hours a day. See www.samaritans.org.”