How long have you been a Samaritan and what made you think about becoming a Samaritan Listening Volunteer?
I've been a listening volunteer for over six years now and I must confess that when I was looking for a voluntary role and someone suggested Samaritans to me, I knew very little about it. But after doing some research I knew that this was what I wanted to do - listen and offer emotional support to people who were struggling in life for whatever reason.
What training and support do you get?
The training we receive and our training team are brilliant. The first part of training consists of 9 modules and is spread over a number of weeks / weekends. After the first part of the training you will be teamed up with a mentor to support you when you start on the phone lines. Once you get through the mentored period you become a 'probationer'. Training is still ongoing at that stage. After approximately 6 months and the final training module has been completed you become a full member of the branch. All volunteers also do 5 hours training once a year which is mandatory. The support is constant from fellow volunteers, shift leaders, deputy directors and the director. It is always available and given willingly so no volunteer is without support when they need it.
What time commitment do you have to make ?
The shift patterns vary but on average it works out at around one three hour shift per week which is flexible. We all book our own shifts and these can be booked to fit around your life. There is an expectation that each volunteer will undertake at least one night shift every month and one weekend shift every 6 weeks. If I can do more I always do so that we can ensure the Centre stays open for our callers, 24 hours each and every day.
Do you have to be a special type of person to be a Samaritan?
Absolutely not. We encourage diversity and everyone is welcome. We're all just ordinary people from all walks of life. The common denominator is the ability to listen and empathise.
What do you get from being a Samaritan?
It's a huge privilege that people feel they can confide in us. I personally believe that every caller is entitled to the very best service that we can give them so we always strive to improve and be better at what we do.
If you'd like to join our team, please follow the link here