The national chair of trustees of Samaritans has told volunteers in Exeter to prepare for a digital revolution as the charity embarks on a modernisation programme.
Jenni McCartney - a former business development consultant and a Samaritans volunteer for over 25 years - told volunteers of the Exeter Mid and East Devon branch that the charity must modernise to cope with growing demand for its services.
“We have 201 branches across the country with 20,000 volunteers. Somebody contacts Samaritans every six seconds, day and night, and someone dies by suicide every 90 minutes. We’ve got a huge job to do” she explained.
“There are over five million contacts with us every year by telephone, email, text and face to face meetings” Jenni continued.
She told the local branch that the charity - already regarded as one of the most recognised and highly respected brands in the country - would shortly improve its website and the technology used by volunteers to cope with demand.
“We’re also going to make sure we let people know we’re there for everyone who needs us. Three quarters of suicide are male, and suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50 and everyone aged between 20 and 34” she said.
The Exeter Mid and East Devon branch has around 100 volunteers dealing every year with over 40,000 contacts - calls, emails, texts and personal visits - as well as being one of the Samaritans groups to work with local prisoners as well.
Potential volunteers can find out more by calling 01392 496649 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.