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*The 2019 Christmas Day swim at Lahinch. Photograph: John Mangan

An annual Christmas Day swim at Lahinch in aid of Samaritans Ennis is to be replaced by a series of individual dips throughout the month of December.

Fundraising activities for Samaritans have ceased since March of this year and they have said this year’s series of swims is vital to provide some financial assistance in the wake of the global pandemic.

An average of 100 phone calls are answered daily by the Ennis branch of Samaritans with volunteers responding to between ten to fifty emails per day from individuals in need or distress or those experiencing loneliness, acting director of the charity in Clare, Richard O’Shea outlined.

“Our branch is in need of funds to try and meet the shortfall in fundraising and donations. While we will never close our doors, we need funding now to cover our running costs, which
includes training new volunteers,” he explained.

This year, the renown Lahinch Christmas Swim which has been seeing people dive into the cold Atlantic Ocean for the past three decades will donate to Samaritans Ennis and Clare.

Instead of hundreds gathering on Christmas Day for the swim, individual swims will be carried out for the month of December.

Donations are being accepted online via iDonate until January 31st and via cheque to Samaritans Ennis and Clare, Sunville, Kilrush Road, Ennis, Co Clare, V95 V004.

If you or anyone you know, is in need of emotional support, Samaritans can be contacted by freephone 116 123 or by email jo@samaritans.ie.

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