No, they are not just another bunch of adverts by the side of the pitch. Instead they symbolise a continuing partnership between the club and the Samaritans’ Exeter Mid and East Devon branch, based in the centre of our city.
The club and the Samaritans together believe this is a hugely valuable link, now starting its second season.
Why? Well in a typical year there are around 6,200 suicides in the UK. This breaks down as just over five suicides for each 100,000 women but rises to almost 12 per 100,000 men.
Within that male figure, the biggest suicide rate is for men aged between 45 and 49: for this group, there are over 25 suicides per 100,000.
It’s difficult to think about, perhaps, but behind those national statistics lie local human tragedies: many people who come to the club each week may have known someone who has taken their own life or may have a neighbour or workmate who has done so.
The issue affects us all, and this is why the club is so keen to work with the local branch of Samaritans.
It operates with over 110 volunteers answering calls, emails and SMS texts; they live in and near the city and many of them are our supporters, although you may not know it.
“Samaritans volunteers will always - always - have time for you. No one will judge you, but we’ll listen and hope that will help you find a way through” says John Huxtable, director of the Exeter, Mid and East Devon branch.
The charity does not get its advertisements for free - although there is a reduced rate for good causes like this - but as a club we are particularly proud to promote Samaritans.
This is because we want everyone who supports Exeter City - perhaps particularly men - to known they can contact this organisation if they need someone to listen.
Thank you for supporting Exeter City and Samaritans.
Remember - anyone can call Samaritans for free, any time from any phone on 116 123 (you don’t even need credit and this number won’t show up on your phone bill). You can text on 07725 909090, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: samaritans.org/exeter.