Rail staff across Wales and Borders backed the Samaritans’ bid to turn ‘Blue Monday’ into ‘Brew Monday’ today (Monday 21 January), by helping get people together for tea and a chat, on what has been dubbed ‘the most difficult day of the year’.

Network Rail staff, along with colleagues from British Transport Police and Transport for Wales, joined Samaritans volunteers at Aberystwyth, Rhyl, Bridgend, Shrewsbury and Swansea and Cardiff stations, encouraging people to connect over a cuppa by offering travellers free tea bags and listening tips, as well as promoting Samaritans’ services.

Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail in Wales and Borders said: “Brew Monday is a great opportunity for the rail industry to show its support for Samaritans and the great work they do in helping vulnerable people up and down the country. This is a great opportunity to reach out to people who may be struggling at this time of year and encourage them to open up and have a chat over a cup of tea.”

Sarah Stone, Executive Director for Samaritans in Wales said: “Days like Brew Monday can help raise awareness of loneliness as a national issue but, for too long, loneliness in young people has not been taken seriously. It’s time to put this right and listen to what they are telling us.

“In Wales, it is crucial we invest in community infrastructure in Wales and make sure communities have better access to free community groups and networks. We are immensely proud of our ten branches and the outreach work they undertake in their local communities to support those who are lonely or socially isolated. We are also proud of our ongoing partnership work Network Rail, British Transport Police and Transport for Wales”

Transport for Wales’ community relations manager Geraint Morgan, said; “We are delighted to be supporting the Samaritans’ Brew Monday event by hosting activity at 13 stations across our network. With thousands of customers passing through our stations during the day, it will be an excellent opportunity to help raise awareness of the importance and benefits of being able to discuss any concerns with family, friends or with the Samaritans directly.”  

Inspector Mike Edwards, from British Transport Police (BTP), said: “We know from experience that taking the time out to have a chat and a cuppa can be all it takes to save a life, so we are happy to support any initiative that gets people talking. Passengers, rail staff and shop workers can play their part by stopping and having a chat with someone who might need help. Trust your instincts – simple small talk could set someone on the journey to recovery.”

You can find out more about Brew Monday at www.samaritans.org/brewmonday or follow @samaritans on Twitter, @samaritanscharity on Instagram, hashtag #BrewMonday, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/samaritanscharity.