BBC Broadcast Appeal highlights work of Samaritan Volunteers in Northern Ireland

Sunday 30th July 2017
BBC Northern Ireland showcased the work of Samaritans this week in the Radio Ulster broadcast appeal. Giving a few hours of their time each month, Listening and Support volunteers provide a vital support to people in distress and at risk of suicide right around the clock, every day of the year.

You can listen again to the main appeal itself at the BBC NI Broadcast Appeals website. As well as the broadcast appeal itself, there are two further supporting videos on the appeals page where volunteers talk further about their own experience of volunteering. This helps to draw out not only the impact that the seemingly simple act of listening can have for a person experiencing distress but also how volunteering with Samaritans is life-changing for the volunteer themselves. 

Working in our 8 branches in Northern Ireland, over 800 volunteers ensure that there is someone available at the end of the phone, email or SMS text right around the clock. Branches also offer support face to face on a drop-in basis - in Belfast you can drop in to our centre in Wellesley Avenue (behind Methodist College) from 9am - 10pm any day of the year. For other branches check the individual branch website for opening hours.


What is it like to volunteer with us?

Samaritan branches regularly hold information sessions where you can come along, have a chat with volunteers and find out more about what we do and how you could get involved. Belfast branch will be hosting two information sessions in the near future: the first is on Monday 4th September 2017 at 2pm and the second on Wednesday 6th September at 7pm. Each of these sessions will be held in our branch premises at 5 Wellesley Avenue in Belfast. If you have a query beforehand please do get in touch 

Listening Voluneers: Our support service is provided entirely by volunteers - those who directly support people by telephone, email, SMS and face to face in branches are known as Listening Volunteers. In the video linked below, one of our volunteers talks about the impact providing this kind of support has both on the caller and on the volunteer.

Support Volunteers - Each branch in Northern Ireland is a charity in its own right and this means that as well as volunteers who provide support directly to our callers there are many other essential tasks that keep us open and available around the clock. Many such responsibilities are taken on by volunteers known as Support Volunteers who help by fulfilling a wide variety of roles in branches such as:

  • the essential administration and governance tasks involved in running a charity
  • keeping our service available through IT and telecoms support
  • ensuring we have the resources we need through fundraising
  • working to ensure those who need our support know about us through traditional and social media channels


As you'll hear in the appeal, Samaritans across UK and Ireland answers a call for help every 6 seconds. Could you be a part of helping others in this way? If so please do get in touch or come along to an information session.