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Because of you… We helped the lonely and housebound

In the twelve months from October 2016 to September 2017, Premier Lifeline received more than 150,000 phone calls, 90,000 of which were answered by one of our small army of trained volunteers. A staggering total time of 1,140,690 minutes was spent listening to and, if requested, praying with callers. Conversations lasting a total of 19,000 hours represents an increase of 25 per cent on the total listening hours from 2013/14.

Although we have slightly more trained Lifelines than four years ago, the 50 per cent increase in the number of calls received means the percentage of calls answered remains around 60 per cent. Because of the response in June 2017, when we asked our supporters to help fund extra training and for additional support staff, Premier hopes to increase the percentage of calls answered first time in 2018 and beyond. Because of you, extra funds will make it possible for a more comprehensive support of existing Lifeliners, to help them process listening to and encouraging callers with challenging needs, and to train new Lifeline volunteers.

By Christmas 2016, all three of our radio stations had registered details of 271 churches and other venues which would welcome people with nowhere else to go on Christmas Day. Following an on-air appeal, churches and charities got in touch to tell us what special events they were holding on Christmas Day for the lonely and homeless in their community. All 271 locations that registered for the Christmas Alone appeal were embedded into an interactive and searchable map of the UK.

Working alongside Community Christmas, we received endorsements from several high-profile Christians, including Philippa Hanna, Paul Baloche, All Sons and Daughters and Max Lucado. They also added their stories and support to highlight why loneliness needs to be tackled and is worse for so many at Christmas. The Christmas Alone appeal received notable endorsements on social media, with huge numbers of Twitter retweets, including one from TV presenter and journalist Eamonn Holmes, and shares on Facebook of our ‘find your nearest venue’ map. The Huffington Post covered our campaign and ran a news story including the searchable map on all their social media channels and news sites.

We expect to double the database of events in the year ahead as we work towards registering at least one venue open in every town and city across the UK so that no one has to spend ‘Christmas Alone’.

These two pages are taken from the Premier Annual Report published in December 2017, titled ‘Because of you…’ This review considers the various ways God has been at work through Premier and made possible because of the prayerful and financial support of many. To obtain a free copy contact Claire Southall on 0300 777 1221 or at claire.southall@premier.org.uk An online version of the annual review can be found here.

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