'We're here for you' - Volunteers band together in Hartlepool to offer support following deaths of young men

Hundreds of messages of hope have been distributed across Hartlepool by volunteers in a new project to help prevent suicide.

Friday, 24th June 2022, 4:45 am

The voluntary and community sector and businesses have come together as a matter of urgency following the recent deaths of young men in town.

More than 1,000 laminated cards carrying inspirational quotes and linking to information on support available locally have been placed all over Hartlepool.

They have already been scanned almost 100 times and are said to have helped save one person’s life so far.

Trevor Sherwood and Angela Arnold of LilyAnne's Coffee Bar with one of the QR cards at Hartlepool marina. Picture by FRANk REID

A new group where young people aged 16 and over can talk in a safe place is also being launched at LilyAnne’s Coffee Bar, in Victoria Road, in July.

Trevor Sherwood, co-owner of LilyAnne’s, said: “There’s been a lot of young people taking their own lives locally and we have found out that they didn’t reach out for any support.

“We want to raise awareness that there is services available. We have created and put thousands of these cards out across Hartlepool in busy spots just to give people a glimmer of hope and positivity that someone cares.”

They have been put in parks including at Summerhill, on the Marina, the Headland, at Seaton Carew and the Hart to Haswell walkway.

Members of the supportive network who are working together to help prevent suicide in Hartlepool. Angela Arnold (front centre) with Sammie Jayne, Alec Gray, Ary Ahmad, Faye Glenn, Angela and Robert Tivnane, and Trevor Sherwood.

Each one carries a real message from someone that LilyAnne’s has previously supported, together with a text number people can message in a crisis situation.

They also carry a QR code that when scanned takes the user to a list of local support services on LilyAnne’s website.

Trevor added: “We’ve had a number of phone calls on the back of it and believe one of these people has been prevented from harming themselves.”

The project has been supported by organisations including Poolie Time Exchange, Hartlepool College, Hartlepool Borough Council, Let’s Connect (formerly MIND), social prescribing link worker Alec Gray, and Ary’s Barbers, in Murray Street.

One of the suicide prevention cards that have been put around Hartlepool. Picture by FRANk REID

Ary Ahmad, of Ary’s Barbers, is part of the team of volunteers starting the new We Listen group at LilyAnne’s every Monday at 6.30pm-9pm from July 11.

He said: “Some people are struggling and feel there’s no one they can talk to. The aim of this group is we can help these people.”

Anyone in need of help can message ‘Shout’ to 85258 or visit www.lilyannes/support for a list of local support services.

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