The Friends of Central London Samaritans (CLS) are made up of four volunteers - Lesley 2663, Laura 3371, Penny 3339, and Victoria 7141. Between us we have almost 100 years of volunteering at Marshall Street.
We were born out of a desire to continue our volunteering for Samaritans - albeit in a different way - by supporting the branch in its transition into an Associate branch, which involved the need to raise all its funds, for the first time unaided by the central charity.
We are aiming to concentrate on fairly major fundraising events so that the proceeds raised can make a real difference to the Branch. In 2018 we raised over £33,000 from a very successful Auction, in September 2019 we raised £2000 from a talk given by Christie Watson (author of The Language of Kindness - a Nurse's Story) and in December 2019 over £15,000 on the Advent Celebration at St Stephen Walbrook.
We are delighted to be able to offer another evening of readings and music for our Advent Celebration at St Stephen Walbrook on the 1st of December 2022. To book your tickets, please click here.
I became a Samaritan in 1981 starting my shifts in the crypt of St Stephen's Walbrook where Chad still made regular appearances. I was a volunteer for over 20 years including periods as an SIC and a Leader as well as befriending, running classes and doing some outreach in schools. For most of those 20 + years I was a regular on the Tuesday evening shift and night watch. My times spent at Marshall Street were amongst some of most rewarding of my life and some of my closest friends, now of nearly 40 years standing, were made on those shifts and continue to this day. Samaritans is an organisation which I passionately believe in and is as relevant today as it was in 1981. Now, as a Friend, I hope I can still make a positive contribution.
I joined CLS in 1991 (Lesley 2663 ran my prep class and was my tutor). I was lucky enough to be part of a prep class team early on in my 20 years as a volunteer and this experience was a great motivator; as was the kindness and support of early shift leaders, fellow volunteers and even directors, all of whom I remember and to whom I owe so much. Somehow I ended up as the branch director in 1999 and saw the branch through an eventful three years which included with the horrors of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. Samaritan volunteers were present in the American Embassy Gardens for many unforgettable days. I certainly gained more in life experience, friendship, the heights and depths of human emotion from my time at CLS than I can ever repay.
The financial backing of the Friends is immensely helpful to CLS. It helps to keep the Centre in operation 365 days of the year and supports the 400 or so volunteers who give up so much of their time and skill to help and listen to our callers. Having been a volunteer for many years, I am a passionate believer in the work of Samaritans, and hope that, with the help of the Friends, together with that of other generous sponsors, this will grow and continue at CLS for years to come.
Having had a career in fundraising I wanted to help the Friends raise funds to support the amazing work of the volunteers. The need to provide round the clock emotional support to those in distress never diminishes.