Hold the phone – Samaritans launches Phone Free Friday

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On Friday 20 June 2014, people from across the UK and Ireland will be getting involved in Phone Free Friday. Rachel Kirby-Rider, Samaritans’ Executive Director of Fundraising and Communications, tells us all about it…

Phone Free Friday, Samaritans

Could you ditch your phone for a day?

“I have this wonderful image of Claire. She brought such warmth to everyone around her, and was always laughing with her friends on her phone.”

This is a memory shared by Cilla Squires, mum to fundraiser Claire who tragically passed away while running the London Marathon in 2012.

Claire was a keen fundraiser who was never too far away from her phone, and Phone Free Friday is a tribute from Samaritans to her. We want to say thank you to Claire for all she’s done, and encourage everyone to resist their phone for just one day for a good cause.

How does Phone Free Friday work?

The idea is simple but challenging.  We want supporters from all over the country to turn off their mobile phone for the day in return for a small donation.

The task might seem easy at first, but research has shown that we’re living in a world where people are obsessed with their mobile phones.  A massive 84% of us said they couldn’t go a day without their phone,  and  35% of us start using our phone before we even get out of bed!

Supported by healthcare provider Simplyhealth, Phone Free Friday challenges you to put down your phone and raise some money, from 9am-5pm on Friday, 20 June. We also ask for a donation of £4 to Samaritans, as £4 is the cost of answering just one call for help.

We hope the challenge will help people to realise how dependent on their phones they are and encourage them to switch off more in the future.  Although a mobile phone can seem to divert us from the troubles of everyday life, it can often add to these stresses and distract us from appreciating the great parts of our lives.

Claire’s memory

Claire’s mother Cilla has been a volunteer at our Banbury branch for over 25 years. We asked Cilla what she thought of our new fundraiser, Phone Free Friday, and this is what she said:

“I’m sure (Claire) would have loved to get involved in Phone Free Friday, combining two of her favourite things – her phone, and fundraising for a great cause. I really can’t think of a better way to continue Claire’s legacy, please everyone, get involved and help Samaritans to save more lives.”

There was an overwhelming response from the public who were touched by Claire’s death, and in the weeks following, thousands of condolence messages were sent from across the globe. It’s our hope that with your Phone Free Friday funds we can answer even more calls than ever.

Who can get involved?

Absolutely everybody, regardless of how little or how much they use their phone.

At Samaritans, the phone is our greatest weapon against suicide. For the past 60 years, we’ve been a vital helpline for anyone who needs someone to talk to, day or night. We receive a call every five seconds from someone struggling to cope that may not have anywhere else to turn. With your help, we can be there for each and every person who needs us.

Visit the Phone Free Friday website to find out more.

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