Sam Fender launches petition for phone helplines to be made free for the vulnerable

"To me this makes absolutely no sense, it's completely scandalous"

Sam Fender has launched a petition calling on all UK councils to drop phone charges for helplines for the most vulnerable members of society.

It comes after the Newcastle musician learned recently that four of the seven councils that serve his local community impose 40p per minute call charges.

Taking to Twitter, he said: “To me this makes absolutely no sense, it’s completely scandalous. We shouldn’t be charging people 40 pence per minute.

“We’ve all been on helplines before, you can be stuck on these things for God knows how long. Half an hour will equate to 12 quid and if you’re skint and you’re homeless, or on the brink of being homeless 12 quid is a lot of money.”

More than 100,000 signatures are needed for the petition to be considered for debate in Parliament. You can sign the petition here.

Last week, Fender shared a cover of ‘Winter Song’ by Newcastle singer-songwriter Alan Hull and his band Lindisfarne in collaboration with The Big Issue and homeless charity People Of The Streets (POTS).

Fender is also selling The Big Issue via his official store (for which he is the cover star), with all profits going to the magazine to split between vendors.

In the interview he discusses the importance of Lindisfarne. “As meaningful to the people of Newcastle as The Beatles were to the people of Liverpool, Lindisfarne might never have reached the dizzying heights of John Lennon’s men,” he said. “But in vocalist and songwriter Alan Hull, they had an artist whose music reached and touched millions, and who hundreds of thousands of Geordies, over the generations, remain fiercely proud.”

Earlier this week, Fender, Sam Smith and Rina Sawayama performed at Elton John‘s World AIDS Day.