Baking queen kicks off Samaritans Brew Monday encouraging people to have a virtual chat and a cuppa with people they care about. Here she talks to Editor-in-Chief Suzy Walker
In a bid to make sure no one is lonely over the long winter months as restrictions continue, Samaritans and Laura Adlington are encouraging people to reach out to someone they care about for a virtual cuppa and a chat for Samaritans Brew Monday.
New online research from the charity has found that over half (58%) of UK adults, felt that speaking regularly to friends and family either on the phone, via video calls or in person over the last year had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing. Among these, helping people keep in contact with loved ones, feeling less isolated and improving their mood were all highlighted as common reasons for keeping in touch.
Today, Samaritans kicks off Brew Monday which flips Blue Monday on its head into something positive. Laura, who stormed to Bake Off success last year, has been a Samaritans volunteer for two years and, like a lot of people over the past year, has struggled.
She said: “I’ve felt very isolated and there have been days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone talk to anyone. But I found that the more I talked and reached out to people, the better I felt.”
The charity’s latest research also revealed simply knowing someone who cares for your wellbeing is there for you, can make a big difference.
Laura said: “Keeping in touch with people throughout the pandemic has been the only way I’ve got through it. Being away from home for six weeks during Bake Off was challenging but I always managed to find time for a chat with my husband every day to share how I was feeling. He probably didn’t realise it but those conversations, however short, helped me find the inner strength I needed to keep going.
“If 2020 has taught us anything it’s to be kind. If you think someone is struggling, ask them if they’re ok. You’re not going to make them feel worse. You don’t need to have all the answers. A phone call is such a small thing, but it can mean the world to someone.”
Samaritans CEO Julie Bentley said: “The challenges many people face during winter have been felt even more acutely this year with the pandemic restrictions. At Samaritans, we know how powerful talking and listening can be, even if it is virtually. It doesn’t have to be a Monday or a cup of tea, it’s about taking the time to listen and support one another. It could save a life.”
Laura features in a new film to celebrate Samaritans Brew Monday alongside fellow volunteers, students and key workers from Network Rail.
Network Rail and the rail industry are supporting Brew Monday with the help of author and illustrator Charlie Mackesy. Charlie has shared a special uplifting illustration from his much-loved book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse which has brought comfort to many. The illustration features a new message for Brew Monday, as the Mole asks a slice of cake, “can I share you with a friend?” and will be displayed across Network Rail stations’ digital screens, including London Waterloo’s big screen, from January 18.
Find out more at Samaritans.org/brewmonday or join the conversation on social media using #BrewMonday and why not make a donation while you’re there, you could help save a life.
Image credit - Kate Peters