Teens urged to call for help

From left, Karen Edwards and Ann Mooney, chairman of the charity SUNS, pictured holding one of the wristbands for young people

From left, Karen Edwards and Ann Mooney, chairman of the charity SUNS, pictured holding one of the wristbands for young people

First published in News by

THE mother of murdered Becky Godden-Edwards offered her support to a new Swindon-wide charity campaign yesterday.

The campaign is intended to keep young people safe on the streets at night-time.

Karen Edwards joined staff at mental health organisation SUNS as they launched wristbands featuring the number of the charity’s Listening Line in Tesco.

The glow-in-the-dark bands have been commissioned by SUNS, run by Ann Mooney, to encourage young people to text the helpline if they ever find themselves stranded or in a potentially dangerous situation.

The charity will respond swiftly and call their parents or the police depending on the circumstances.

Becky disappeared in 2002 after living on the streets and her family believed she was still alive until her body was found in a field in Gloucestershire.

Karen, 53, said she hoped the campaign would help prevent young women like Becky or Sian O’Callaghan, who was abducted and murdered by mini-cab driver Chris Halliwell on the streets of Old Town in March 2011, from being victims of crime.

“If there had been something like this to help Becky and Sian, it might have been a completely different scenario today,” she said.

“All youngsters are vulnerable at night-time especially when they have had a drink. This will help protect our children.

“Nothing hit Swindon like the murders of Becky and Sian to such a tragic level and it makes it even more important for charities like SUNS to help young and vulnerable people.”

Texting seemed like an ideal way for young people who may have run out of credit and are unable to make a call, to get in contact with SUNS. If they wish, or are able to do so, they can call the helpline directly.

“Young people can call or text and ask someone to call them back,” said Ann.

“If it’s urgent they should write ‘urgent’ so the operator knows they are at risk.

“We really want to raise awareness and protect young people so that what happened to Sian and Becky does not happen again.”

As the wristbands are funded entirely by the charity, they cost £1 each.

Youngsters who cannot afford the amount will be able to pick one up for free from SUNS office at 163 Victoria Road and Tesco Extra in Ocotal Way.

The Listening Line service operates from 6pm until midnight and handles calls from people with a range of needs, including loneliness and depression.

Anyone in need of help or who needs to talk to an adviser can call 01793 332520 or text 07850 708317 or email help@swindonlisteningline.org.

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