The heart breaking anniversary of the passing of a much loved young man who took his own life has marked the first steps towards starting a Suicide Support Centre in our town.
On January 8th, Gobaith Am Barri remembered 21 year-old Samuel Uphill – with our full-on fight to see a crucial Suicide Support Centre in our town still as strong as ever.
A collective of Barry residents, under the CUBE (Community United Barry 4 Everyone) banner, are campaigning to fund a permanent place that provides a series of such services for our community.
They have come together to make a difference for families living with or affected by mental health , suicide, grief and loss , domestic abuse and substance misuse.
Many of them have lived-in experiences of dealing with services, some of them have been supported in the past by other agencies, and others have been instrumental in setting up groups within Barry to help.
Rachel, was compelled to act after the suicide of her own boy – followed by ten young people in Barry taking their own lives within the couple of years that followed.
She said: “That, for me signalled enough. Something has to be done. We need to support our vulnerable young adults. There are not enough resources, they have nowhere to go, they don’t know how to control their feelings, or even what to do with them. It’s time that changed. They need to know it’s ok not to be ok.”
Samuel, known as Sammy, was the much loved son of Samantha and Christian and brother of Gemma and Jordan.
Gemma said: “Sammy was more than our little brother, he was our best friend. He was an integral part of all of our lives. Even when he was being a total goon. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t open up as much about his feelings, because he’d taken on the role of being “the funny one”. He was selfless, and kind and so loving. He didn’t want to burden anyone.
There is a huge void in our lives without him, but his influence lives on through his nieces and nephews. And his friends have been a huge support and source of comfort because they were his family too. We can’t allow his passing to be in vain. The setting up of Gobaith gives us all something to focus on, and give help and hope to others.”
Rachel added: “We were too late for our children. Please support us to support the young adults of our community. We intend to do all that we can to help save lives and ensure another family doesn’t have to endure the devastation that losing a loved one to suicide causes.
Rachel had originally intended to register Gobaith (Barri) as a Charity and run the Centre herself. But following a battle with breast cancer has now handed the reins, and the near £6,000 funds raised, over to CUBE.
They are a Community Interest Company (CIC), run by Tammi Owen, who are now calling on us Barrians for our help.
Tammi said: “I want to set up a Hub where people and families are able to access support and help under one roof. It will also provide activities , meeting places and a place just to sit and have a coffee and a chat.”
The Centre is for the community, and run by the community. it is aiming to be open late in the evening and weekends to help people who work, or are in school.
The original Gobaith (Barri) Suicide Support strand, which is still very much-needed, will, of course, be very much part of this.
CUBE hopes to provide support for those affected by mental health – and also those living with many other difficult and challenging issues too.
Tammi added: “Many people will know that I’ve been working and supporting the people of Barry for 30 years.
I’ve worked for the CAB, Women’s Aid, Mental Health , Social Services to name a few and I’ve donated free private counselling hours to help the people who needed to talk.
I’ve worked tirelessly for my community and now I’m calling on my community to help me fund a building and to set up services for the people of Barry. “
“I know we can do this, this is a direct call to action,” Tammi added.
If you would like to help fund the Centre by putting on an event, or helping them raise money, contact Tammi Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.