Launching the Samaritans Winter Appeal, CEO Peter Gardiner has called on the local community to show their support for vulnerable groups, such as young people and the unemployed.

Mr Gardiner said, “Earlier this year, the Hunter was identified as having one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia. Coupled with this, we know that many of our young people face a future of insecure work and housing.”

“Samaritans’ recent research indicates that Newcastle and Lake Macquarie has no affordable housing options for young people on Newstart or Youth Allowance,” he said.

“As we approach the Federal election, it’s critical that we raise awareness of these big issues but more importantly, we must also try to do something about it.”

Through the services that Samaritans provides in our community, we see that these broader issues have a face. Samaritans supported Hayley* to find accommodation.

“Now I’m living in a rental at East Maitland and I really want to stay here. I don’t want to move around anymore, I’m enjoying my own place because I can call it my own and I can get on with achieving my own goals and I don’t have to worry about others,” Hayley said.

“But it’s still really hard to get by each week. I only have $170 a week to live off. That has to cover my food, electricity, any transport or communications and I still try to put money aside for my son but it means I go without,” she said.

Mr Gardiner said, “We have launched our Winter Appeal this month during difficult times. We are aware that many people are struggling which presents a challenge to ask for charity donations, but I do ask people to consider those who are worse off and do something about it by offering a donation.”

“Please give what you can. Samaritans needs your support to keep assisting young people and families this Winter,” he said.

To donate to the Samaritans Winter Appeal go to or call 1300 656 336.

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