Chapter 5: Priority 1: Access

1. Make sure anyone who needs us can access our support

Our challenge

We cannot always meet the demand for Samaritans’ services and there is a risk that people who are trying to contact us can’t get through or get the response they need.

Our ambition

People will be able to access our support whenever they need it and get through to us in a way that works for them.

We will achieve this by:

  • Recruiting and training more volunteers to meet demand.
  • Expanding our digital services, such as online chat and self-help apps, because we know many people find it easier to reach out this way.
  • Improving our service to callers who require additional support.
  • Reviewing and improving the accessibility of our branches, hubs and satellites.
  • Undertaking targeted recruitment campaigns to attract a more diverse range of people so that our branches reflect their local communities.
  • Improving rotas to make it easier for volunteers to be aware of particular times and reasons for increased pressure on the service, such as in the middle of the night or early morning, and volunteer at times and in places that suit them best.

And we will protect our high standards of safety by:

  • Building on our hubs as a place where we deliver specific services and focus on quality.
  • Continuing to ensure the highest standards of safeguarding so that all children and adults at risk of harm are protected and supported.
  • Investigating how we can better respond to the needs of under-18s who reach out to us.

John J explains why being able to speak to a Samaritan was so important to them.

When I was a teenager, I was struggling with my anxiety, depression, getting bullied at school horrifically. So I rang Samaritans and just literally offloaded all my stuff to them. It felt good. It felt like someone’s listening to me and just made me feel better, a big weight off my shoulders.

John J

Samaritans volunteer Edelle talks about why people need to be able to contact Samaritans online, as well as over the phone.

Need support? Call 116 123 to speak to a Samaritan or

view other ways to get in touch