Samaritans appeal for more Brid volunteers

Bridlington Samaritans are appealing for more volunteers.
Bridlington Samaritans are appealing for more volunteers.

A CHARITY that is a lifeline for people in distress is appealing for volunteers at a time when the demand for its services is greater than ever.

Last year the 35 or so volunteers at the Bridlington Samaritans Centre gave more than 6,000 hours of their time to help people in crisis.

Nationally in 2012 Samaritans received over 5 million contacts, with Christmas and New Year typically a busy time. Bridlington Samaritan volunteer Ian Banks said: “Both can be stressful times and for many people they are times that are almost dreaded, especially for people who are completely on their own during the festive season.

“Other people perhaps have unrealistic expectations of Christmas and New Year and can be severely disappointed.”

Now the Samaritans centre, on St Mary’s Walk, wants to recruit more volunteers to help it meet a growing demand for its services, with several open days planned for next week.

And they are especially keen to recruit volunteers aged between 18 and 30 to help deal with the numbers of people in that age group contacting the charity.

Mr Banks, who helps out with recruitment, said: “There is an ever increasing demand for the Samaritans service and total contacts do go up year on year, particularly since the advent of the Samaritans email and texting service.”

The email service was introduced in the 1990s, while the texting service was piloted around five years ago.

“With these services, in addition to the telephone service, Samaritans is now more relevant to young people and is increasingly used by under-25s.

“This is one reason why Samaritans would like to attract volunteers of all ages, including those in the 18 to 30 age group, as these days lots of the people contacting the charity fall into that age group,” Mr Banks said.

To help get the feel of what being a Samaritans volunteer is like, a series of informal open days is planned.

They will be held at St Mary’s Walk on Saturday at 10am, Tuesday at 10.30am and Wednesday at 6pm. Each session will last an hour.

For more information or to register an interest call 400400 any evening after 7.30pm or email volunteer4sams@yahoo.co.uk.

Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, every day, on 08457 90 90 90 or text 07725 90 90 90, or email jo@samaritans.org.