Being a listening volunteer offers great rewards. Not only can you help people in the community who need emotional support, but you receive great training which can be used in other aspects of your life.
There are a number of steps to becoming a listening volunteer:
You will first need to attend an Information Event. These are held in Branch during the evening at set times through the year. Here you get to find out what the Samaritans are all about and to see what is expected from you.
This is a great way to see if being a Samaritan is for you. If it is, then the next step is to attend our Selection stage.
Our next Information Event is TBA. For more details click here.
The Selection stage comprises an Interview and a Selection Day. We want to ensure that you have the potential of being a successful Samaritan. We have an interview to find out more about you and you also get an opportunity to ask any questions that you have. These are usually held on a Saturday.
Following that, you will attend our Selection Day which is unually held on a Sunday. We discuss scenarios and find out your views on many aspects of life. We have team exercises and give everyone the opportunity to provide their thoughts on a range of topics.
If you are successful in getting through the Selection stage then you start to undertake our extensive training programme which will set you up for the role as a listening volunteer.
There are 9 sessions of training which will take place over weekends and evenings and will cover everything that you may encounter from callers. All volunteers comment on how good the training is and many volunteers find things out about themselves that they never knew before!
The Training concludes with some mock telephone calls and you then start undertaking your role as a listening volunteer.
When you first start answering the phones you will be mentored by an experienced volunteer to help you put the theory into practice. You will have six weeks (or more if needed) with your mentor. Following that, you undergo a six month probation period answering phones on your own and answering emails.
The Branch works on a six week flexible rota. That means that three hour day shifts can be in the morning, afternoon or evening. You can simply fit it around your work and personal circumstances. We are able to maintain a sustainable rota if we all try to do five of these three hour shifts in a six week period. Flexibility is encouraged though and we all help out when we can.
The night-time and early morings are when people use our service the most so we ask that you consider covering at least one overnight shift each six-week period.
A lot more detail about how volunteers contribute to the branch is given at the Information Events.
If you need any more information then email us on firstname.lastname@example.org