Volunteers from Samaritans’ Festival Branch will be at Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival this weekend to offer emotional support to anyone in need or feeling along in the crowd.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the Festival but for some the weekend may be challenging.
Volunteers from Samaritans Festival Branch, who come from all branches in the country, will be available throughout the weekend of September 15th to 17th Sept to anyone who wants to talk.
Last year, volunteers supported 95 people over the weekend, some who expressed suicidal feelings.
Samaritan Festival Director Tony Leech believes it is important that people have a chance to talk about their feelings.
“There is a saying ‘A burden shared is a burden halved’. As Samaritans, we know from experience that it is helpful to talk and to share feelings. We are trained to listen. We do not advise. We do not offer solutions. We give people time and space to talk, to express their feelings, and we help them to explore options in dealing with any issues facing them,” said Tony.
“Events like the Lisdoonvarna Festival are designed to be enjoyable occasions. However, for some people it can be lonely and isolating to be in a festival atmosphere where they may be overwhelmed by feelings of loss and despair because of what may be happening or has happened in their lives.
“We know that many people tend to bottle up their emotions, fearing they may be judged, be thought different or weak, be misunderstood or be ostracised. By being present at Lisdoonvarna we want to give the message to anyone suffering feelings of despair that we are there to listen and to provide face to face support in a non-judgemental way.”
The Lisdoonvarna Festival began 160 years ago when visiting gentry came to take the waters at the spa and looked to match their unmarried children with suitable partners. Now known as the Matchmaking Festival, it offers music, dancing and daily matchmaking sessions for hopeful singletons. Singles aged 18 to 80 from all over the world come together over the month of September – but some may find the week long event challenging or lonely.
Samaritans Festival Branch attend between six to eight festivals each summer supporting hundreds of people every year.
Samaritans presence at the Festival will complement our regular service. Those who are struggling can call us on our free to call number 116 123 to discuss a very wide range of issues – you don’t need to be suicidal to contact us. There is a volunteer at the end of the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year ready to listen to whatever is troubling a caller.