As well as taking calls and answering emails, North London Samaritans also take part in other activities in the area.
For example, we have a team of speakers who can give talks about what we do and how we can provide support. We are always pleased to speak to schools, universities, colleges or community groups who might be interested in our work or who may benefit from our service. We have visited a number of primary schools to talk to year six pupils about emotional health and conducted activity sessions on coping with feelings.
We also publicise our service with a stand at community events or workplaces and can provide emotional support at particular times and locations. We recently provided support for year 12 students at the Enfield and Haringey Safe Drive Stay Alive initiative, a hard-hitting production aimed at young drivers.
We are available for urgent support in the event of an incident at one of our local train stations. (For more information see https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/workplace/rail-industry-suicide-prevention-programme/saving-lives-railways/.)
If you know of an organisation or community group that would be interested in finding out more about Samaritans please contact us at [email protected]
North London Samaritans' Schools' Service
We work closely with local primary and secondary schools within our local boroughs of Enfield, Haringey and Barnet. A group of volunteers go into the schools and give short talks and run interactive workshops for the young people. The focus of these sessions is dealing with difficult emotions.
We also have a Postvention Advisor within our branch. This is part of Samaritans’ Step by Step programme which supports schools after an unexplained death or suicide. This service is designed to ensure school communities are equipped to respond effectively to an attempted or completed suicide. The Postvention advisor offers practical support, guidance and information on addressing the impact of suicide on the school community and helping the school to recover.
Not everyone in need of emotional support can easily make a private telephone call or access their email. People in prison are six times more likely to kill themselves than people outside. Samaritans works with HM Prison Service to reduce the number of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm by providing a number of different support mechanisms.
Volunteers from North London Samaritans go into HMP Pentonville most weeks to select, train and support prison Listeners. Listeners are prisoners themselves who have been carefully trained by Samaritans to provide confidential, face to face emotional support to their fellow prisoners. This is a vitally important part of North London Samaritans’ service.
For more information about our Listener Scheme, please click here.
Listeners at HMP Pentonville
One of the most important and successful outreach programmes run by the branch is our collaborative work with HMP Pentonville prison. Prison ‘Listeners’ are essentially prisoners who operate as Samaritans within the prison.
Since 1993 all local branches have been encouraged to work in partnership with HM prison services, underpinned by the perturbing statistic that people in prison are six times more likely to take their own lives. The first forty-eight hours spent in prison is when people are found to be at their most vulnerable.
The relationship is based upon a Local Service Level Agreement that sets down parameters for the partnership allowing the offer of appropriate support while understanding the limitations within which both organisations operate – an expression of intent to use best endeavours.
Just as with everyone else, prisoners volunteer to become Listeners. Prison security officers must give first approval of their application. Thereafter, the prison outreach team carry out a very similar process of ‘selection’ of volunteers to determine their suitability. The team then completes a training programme with the potential Listeners in order that they may fully understand the demands placed upon them should they successfully complete the course.
As one might imagine, there are huge pressures placed upon the Listeners within the prison system and that is why the branch volunteers attend weekly meetings with the Listener team and the Safer Custody Officers in order that appropriate levels of support can be continued and everyone can be reassured that the Samaritans’ principles and policies are being maintained.
For more information about the national Listener service, please click here.
North London Samaritans owns and manages a hall, Shaftesbury Hall, available for local community use.
The hall has the following facilities:
- Sprung wooden dance floor
- Fully-fitted kitchen
- Projector and PA system
- Various seating configurations for up to 60 guests