Samaritans' numbers hit ten year high in time for Volunteers’ Week

New figures released today show the number of people volunteering with Samaritans reached a ten year high of 21,200 in 2013. During the same period, the charity answered 5.23 million calls for help*, the highest number for five years.

A record 30,800 volunteering enquires were received in 2013 through the Samaritans website in 2013. Samaritans relies entirely on the generosity and hard work of its volunteers to support those struggling to cope and is calling for new volunteers to step forward, as part of National Volunteers Week, 1-7 June 2014.

The charity also found a 12 per cent increase in the numbers of calls for help received by email in 2013, accompanied by a 15 per cent increase in text messages. The 22 per cent of calls from people experiencing suicidal feelings remained the same as in 2012.

Samaritans volunteers also took part in 5,500 projects in local communities in 2013, to raise awareness of the service. These included events at festivals, schools and railway stations, among others.

Stephen Hoddell, Chair of Samaritans said:

“The increase in our volunteer figures is extremely heartening, as is the record number of enquiries about becoming a volunteer. Samaritans wouldn’t exist without the commitment of these generous people, and I want to thank them all for their hard work and dedication. We know that our callers benefit from having a real person at the end of the line, someone who is trained to really listen to them.

“It’s great to see that no matter their age or length of service, our volunteers deliver the same fantastic service through many different channels. The rise in the number of calls we are receiving shows that we need as many volunteers as possible. As well as listening on the helpline, there are lots of ways people can get involved at Samaritans, whether it’s doing admin, fundraising or IT, we can use their skills.”

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Those interested in volunteering for Samaritans should go to the volunteering page on the website

Notes to editors:

*This figure includes calls for help via the telephone, email, SMS, letters and face to face support both inside and outside of the branches, including in prisons.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) 116 123 (ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.