Bath & District Samaritans is opening its doors to new volunteers during National Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) to let them know about the different ways they can help with the running of their local branch, and support people across the country who are struggling - and it is not limited to listening.
Samaritans volunteers come in all ages, shapes and sizes, and from diverse backgrounds. Some have disabilities, many work full-time, but everyone is welcome to apply to their local branch: the Bath and District branch is based near the City centre, on the Upper Bristol Road, by Windsor Bridge.
As well as training as a listening volunteer, volunteers can fundraise for the branch, get involved in marketing and publicity, flex their IT skills, or help with organisation and administration.
Volunteer David Ryder, Director of Bath & District Samaritans’ branch, said: “Listening is at the heart of what we do, but there are many other opportunities to contribute to Samaritans’ life-saving work. Whether you like meeting people, training them or using your organisational skills, planning a rota, running a building, or writing a press release, there’s so much more to being a Samaritans volunteer. We’re proud of every single one of our volunt-heroes!”
Everyone has experience they can draw on, and volunteering benefits volunteers and their well-being, as well as the people they support.
Volunteer Kathryn, who has been a listening Samaritan for 4 years, despite being a wheelchair user, due to Multiple Sclerosis, said: Being a Samaritan is a great privilege, and one that I could not do without the support of others. I’m in a wheelchair all the time now so it was only after the Bath branch moved to a fantastic modern building 4 years ago that I was able to consider becoming a Samaritan. There were still entry codes and fire doors to negotiate, telephones to reach and toilets to access but there was no hesitation in the branch in their commitment to give me the independence I needed to manage almost as well as every other Volunteer.”
Samaritans volunteers are ordinary people who learn new skills or adapt what they already know. There are different roles available at the 201 branches in the UK and Ireland.