With Volunteers Week it is the perfect time to get involved with local good causes.
Among the many charities calling for those with a few spare hours in the area to help out, is the Grantham branch of the Samaritans.
The charity has a team of around 35 hard-working volunteers in Grantham, many of whom also have day jobs. Last year they received over 9,000 phone calls and more than 1,000 emails, but they would like to help even more people if they can.
Moreover while many have a general idea of the Samaritans telephone helpline, as the director of the Grantham branch Anne explains, the forms of communication they use and issues they deal with are much more varied.
“People contact Samaritans for all sorts of reasons and about all types of distress,” says Anne. “They aren’t necessarily feeling suicidal, but it is a fact that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, and recent campaigns by the Central Charity, Samaritans governing body, has tried to reach out to high risk groups in the community.”
As part of this reaching out, the Samaritans provides confidential emotional support not only over the phone, but also via emails, letters, texts.
The charity also supports outreach activity in the local community at hospitals, schools, workplaces, prisons and festivals. For instance Grantham branch volunteers regularly visit Stocken Prison to provide support.
In total there are 201 Samaritans branches in the UK, but each are a separate charity, entirely dependent on fund-raising to run. This along with raising awareness of their work and attracting new volunteers is therefore vital for them to continue and to keep providing what can be life-saving work.
The Samaritans volunteers come from all backgrounds and ages. Anne adds: “Our ages range from 18 to 80, male and female, from all walks of life, just ordinary people willing to give up about four or five hours a week to help alleviate emotional stress by listening to those who contact Samaritans. Ordinary people doing a remarkable job which can make such a difference to someone’s life.”
As well as taking calls, there are volunteering opportunities in publicity, fund-raising, IT, admin and finance.
To find out more about volunteering, call 07504 913360 or email grantham firstname.lastname@example.org