POLICE commissioner Alan Billings hooked up Rotherham Samaritans with a dedicated phoneline ahead of their busiest time of year.
The £330 grant covers the line and other equipment at the Percy Street branch as volunteers prepare for Christmas.
The dedicated phoneline allows the branch to support people bereaved by suicide and is the first of its kind in South Yorkshire.
Dr Billings said: “Samaritans is a name we all recognise. They are a support network we take for granted and know they will be there.
“They are run by dedicated volunteers of all ages, who give up their time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, even Christmas Day, to help others.
“As we approach the festive season, many people will be struggling emotionally with loneliness, financial difficulties and just keeping going.
“There are always people on hand in the Samaritans to listen to people’s concerns and talk things through with them.”
The dedicated line funded by Dr Billings is for specialist support for those bereaved by suicide.
Branch director Christine Edwards said: “The funding and visit from Dr Billings comes at an important time. With Christmas coming, we expect there will be an increase in calls to the service.
“Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, some people cannot face tomorrow. It is the people they leave behind who are left with feelings of guilt and depression. This dedicated line will help them.
“I would encourage anyone feeling this way to speak with the police family liaison officer to access the service.”
Samaritans can be called on freephone 116 123 at any time.