Friends of Dublin Samaritans launch Forest of Hope

by Gazette Reporter
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In Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Square this week award-winning garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin, planted a tree to mark the beginning of a new fundraising initiative, Friends of Dublin Samaritans Forest of Hope.

In Ireland, Samaritans answer a call for help every 56 seconds. The volunteer-run organisation is a free phone 24/7 serviceoffering emotional support and an empathetic listening ear to those who need it,  24/7, 365 days a year. The 116 123 phone number is free, even from a mobile with no credit. In 2020 Samaritans answered over 539,000 phone calls and replied to almost 24,000 emails in Ireland. However, fundraising is essential to keep this service going.

Dublin Samaritans’ fundraising initiative, Friends of Dublin Samaritans Forest of Hope,is supported by Coillte, who has gifted 1,000 native Irish trees to the sustainable project. The Tree Council of Ireland has generously donated the land. Coillte will plant and care for a tree for every new member of Friends of Dublin Samaritans. 

All of the money donated by ‘friends’ goes to maintaining the vital services. The annual membership costs €120 or €10 by monthly direct debit. Along with supporting Dublin Samaritans, every friend receives a welcome pack with a native Irish wooden pen and an invitation to an event each year.

Volunteer Olwyn Greene, Chairperson of Dublin Samaritans’ Awareness Team said: “We want our supporters to feel part of Dublin Samaritans. Their generosity is bringing help to those who need it most. It is important for us to give something back by planting a tree in their honour in support of and to protect our future.”

“Coillte’s attitude to health is wonderful, they believe very strongly in the benefit of the outdoors and nature for our mental and physical health. We are delighted to partner with Coillte and the Tree Council of Ireland to launch this sustainable fundraising initiative.” Olwyn shared.

The name ‘Forest of Hope’ was inspired by Pat Neville, Communications Manager for Coillte who remarked, “Nobody plants a tree without hope.” 

Dublin Samaritans encourages people to consider membership of Friends of Dublin Samaritans as a Christmas present, a corporate gift, a memory tree, a tree to celebrate a birth or as a thoughtful gift that helps care for each other and the world around us. 

Samaritans run a 24/7 helpline maintained by volunteers and provide outreach programmes throughout the country. The service provides a lifeline to thousands of people in Ireland each year who are troubled, in distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. If people need a listening ear, they can call 116 123 or email [email protected]

Nobody plants a tree without hope. Together we can grow a forest. 


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