Interview with a Samaritan

Photo of Emily, a volunteer
We often get asked what’s it like to be a volunteer at our Romford Office. So we put some tough questions to Emily (photo right) who joined in 2014. 
There were ten candidates in Emily's intake who completed nine evenings of training, following by mentoring and a further four evenings of training before confirmation. 
Q1) Haven't you got better things to do than be a Samaritan?
You are only required to do one shift a week and generally it is only 3 hours long so I still have plenty of free time outside of volunteering. Out of everything I do in my spare time, I would say Samaritans is actually one of the ‘better things’.
Q2) Do some calls make you depressed or angry?
Some of the calls are definitely sad and can make you feel for the caller and their circumstances. I can’t say I’ve ever felt depressed or particularly angry but there is plenty of support available from other volunteers if you’ve had a difficult shift.
Q3) How can a younger person respond to problems they've not experienced?
By simply listening to the caller. I may be young, and that might be an advantage in some circumtances. The training I’ve had as a volunteer has taught me to empathise with all kinds of problems people may be struggling with.
Q4) Can you pick and choose the shifts you work?
Within limits, Yes. As a volunteer you have the option to be flexible or as routine as your circumstances allow.
Q5)  What are the other Samaritans like?
The other Samaritans I’ve had the opportunity to work with have been from all walks of life; young and old, male and female, in full-time work, students and retired, and I have become friends with people I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to meet.
The first step to become a Samartian in Havering is to fill in the online application form (link on this page). You’ll be invited to one of our Information Evenings, held about every 6 weeks, at our Romford office. There’s a short presentation and lots of opportunities to ask questions.