“Samaritans have been in Galway for 45 years. Every month we answer over 2000 calls. We couldn’t do it without our volunteers”
On May 10th Galway Samaritans celebrated 45 years in Galway. From our beginnings in Woodquay, when a small number of volunteers kept a phone line running round the clock, to our current home in Nuns’ Island, we are still run by volunteers and contribute to a national service that answers over 400,000 calls and 9,000 emails every year.
We offer listening and support to people in times of need so that we can help them avoid getting to a point of crisis. People contact us with all sorts of concerns. What might be a small issue to one person may be huge to someone else. You don’t have to be suicidal to contact us. You could be going through something new or have been struggling to cope for some time; either way, we're here for some extra support.
Celebrating our anniversary is harder in 2021 than in other years, because of the restrictions placed on us by Covid. We have over 120 volunteers in Galway, and around a quarter of these have been unable to come into our branch in Nuns’ Island in the last year because they are cocooning or protecting vulnerable household members. The volunteers who have been able to come in have pulled together and made sure that we have been able to be there for people who need us more than ever. We are all particularly sad that we won’t be able to gather physically to celebrate our actual anniversary but we hope to do so when restrictions are lifted.
Throughout May we will celebrate on our social media platforms with a series of short videos from Volunteers as well as messages of congratulations and thanks from Galway supporters. We are thrilled to have received a letter from President Higgins as well as video greetings from the Mayor Mike Cubbard and Cathaoirleach James Charity, local sports stars and many others.
We also hope to use this opportunity to highlight the extra roles our volunteers take on including volunteering for Outreach, Prison service, Training,and Recruitment duties as well as our support workers who help with social media, fund-raising and much more.
Being part of a community is really important to us. Everyone who volunteers with Samaritans is supported by their family and friends who often themselves make sacrifices so that we can be there at all hours of the day and night. And we rely on community fundraising to keep our branch going. We would love to involve the people who support us in our celebrations - even if it’s only online. For example, we’d like people to share their pics of our Samaritans van when it turns up around Galway and Mayo and our Positive Pebbles which will be popping up across Galway city during May.
Mostly we want to say a big thank you to our volunteers, none of whom are paid, who are real life heroes.
Director of Galway Samaritans