The Outreach team is an important element of the Samaritans branch, offering a range of activities and talks, as well as support to those going through a difficult time in the local community.
Armed Forces Covenant signature (August 2023)
On 29 August 2023 Reading Samaritans signed the Armed Forces Covenant with Lt Col Guy Lock MBE from 7 RIFLES, based at Brock Barracks, Reading.
The Covenant demonstrates the commitment of Reading Samaritans to supporting serving military personnel, veterans, service leavers and their families. 8% of our callers have links to the military.
A higher risk of suicide is seen in veterans under 25 years old, involuntary or early service leavers, and veterans with skills that are less transferable to civilian working lives. There are also peaks in suicide attempts on anniversaries of significant conflicts, combat exposure triggers and Remembrance Day.
School presentations and workshops (April 2023)
Reading Samaritans delivered assembly presentations to the 6th form at Wargrave Piggott School this month as well as classroom workshops with Year 9s at Reading Girls School.
Samaritans Outreach to our young people is considered a very important and needed part of our work.
To find out more about our Education Outreach please contact us at: [email protected].
Probation Service talk (March 2023)
A presentation on the work of the Samaritans was given to several teams across Reading Probation Service. A useful discussion helped with tips on supporting those who might be struggling and raised awareness for an organisation that works with individuals who might be vulnerable.
Reading Station (February-March 2023)
Following a recent suicide in February, volunteers from Reading Samaritans were present at the station with the aim of supporting station staff and passengers who could have been affected by the incident.
On 10 March volunteers from Reading and Bracknell Samaritan branches, as well as station staff from GWR and other partners, were at Reading Station throughout the day.
The aim was to provide emotional support and to raise awareness of the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign, which focuses on the importance of a simple conversation and how it could save a life.
Visits to Schools (May - July 2022)
Reading Samaritans worked with the branches at Bracknell, Winchester, and Oxford to deliver the Samaritans Emotional Health workshop in 6 schools in the Reading area to approximately 1,050 students. This included 2 whole year assemblies and 23 class sessions.
At present, the focus is on Year 9 and above. Sadly, symptoms such as anxiety and depression have risen in young people and these remain higher than pre‐pandemic levels compared to other age groups (based on NHS data).
We also discussed our Postvention Service, the support available if there is an unexplained death in a youth or school community, with the 6 designated safeguarding leads, who were also given contact literature. Tragically, the need for this service has been increasing after the pandemic.
The Samaritans DEAL (Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening) materials, which form a short scheme of work around emotional wellbeing, were given to 35 members of staff across the 6 schools to support their continuing lessons focused on students’ emotional health.
On each visit, Samaritans calling cards were given to every student, and Samaritan’s literature, tea bags, pens and posters were left in the staff rooms for all staff.
Reading Samaritans will continue to deliver the emotional wellbeing workshops for school students and to inform staff about the Postvention service. It is good to be back in schools after having to deliver the workshops online during the pandemic.
For more information please contact us at [email protected].
Flackstock (25 July 2022)
Flackstock was a celebration of the life of Caroline Flack - with comedy, dance and live music as well as the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and funds for mental health charities.
Samaritan volunteers from the Reading, Bracknell and Festival Branches were present to help with those aims and to provide emotional support on what was a very difficult day for some.
It was over two years ago that Caroline sadly took her own life and many people wanted to remember her with music and memories. Our volunteers spoke to many people at the day festival and were reminded just why supporting those going through a difficult time is so important.
Vocalese (17 July 2022)
Vocalese, a local community choir, kindly carried out fundraising for Reading Samaritans and raised over £500. The Reading Samaritans Outreach team gave a talk to a very receptive audience explaining how this money helps us to continue our work.
The choir’s performance can be seen here.
Hexagon theatre (7-8 July 2022)
Samaritans volunteers were outside the Hexagon theatre on two nights in July for Sarah Millican’s show to help raise funds for our branch. Thank you to all those who donated.
Woodley Carnival (11 June 2022)
Reading Branch ran a well-attended stall throughout the day at Woodley Carnival, with the focus on raising awareness of the work we do as Samaritans.
Samaritans Open Day (1 June 2022)
We held a community event at Reading Town Hall to raise awareness of Samaritans. For six hours we had open doors to anyone wanting to come in and take part in events - such as talks about what happens when you call Samaritans and lots about what Samaritans do, as well as mindfulness exercises such as colouring.
Youth in Mind Berkshire (18 May 2022)
Reading Samaritans attended the Youth in Mind Berkshire health and well-being conference to talk about the work that we do. The conference was for those working with children and young people in Berkshire West.
Information about the Samaritans Postvention service were discussed and shared with adult youth workers and school staff who were in attendance.
Our Learn to Listen talk was given as one of the advertised talks, with good feedback from the audience and those visiting our stall there.
Reading College Mental Health Fair (9 May 2022)
We attended the Mental Health Awareness Week fair at Reading College, talking with students and staff about the work of Samaritans and the support we can offer.
Reading Pride 2021 (4 Sep 2021)
Once again Reading Samaritans had a strong presence at the Love Unites Festival at King's Meadow organised by Reading Pride on September 4th. Volunteers spoke to hundreds of people at the event, throughout the day taking the time to explain the services offered by Samaritans.
In particular, we provided the space to talk about some difficult subjects, helped people feel less alone, provided some tips about supporting others, and were able to look for opportunities to work with other organisations.
Reading Samaritans wins Green Token Vote from ASDA's Tilehurst branch (8 Nov 2021)
Reading Abbey Rugby Club (17 Jul 2021)
The Outreach Team from Reading Samaritans was present for a ‘7s’ tournament at Reading Abbey Rugby Club to spread awareness of our work. Samaritans has provided new post protectors and pitch side boards for the club and also for Reading RFC and Reading Rams.
The event provided an opportunity to talk to players, coaches and spectators throughout the day, with many rugby players ending the day sporting Samaritans stickers. Earlier in the day, Meridian ITV news was there to record interviews with members of Samaritans and the rugby club.