This volunteers’ week (1-7 June) Leicester Samaritans is joining volunteer organisations across the UK to show how volunteering time can make a huge difference to the lives of others.
Echoing the findings of its Dying from Inequality report released earlier this year, Samaritans is highlighting the particular need for emotional support for those who are disadvantaged, as they are more at risk of suicide.
Abbey Brookes, volunteer and Director of Leicester Samaritans has been a volunteer for 13 years. She said: “Samaritans volunteers can make the difference between someone getting through tough times, or not. But we’re just one part of the equation. Suicide is an inequality issue. For example, if you are male, middle-aged and from the poorest background you are ten more times at risk of suicide than if you’re from the richest. We want to see everyone from politicians and policy makers to employers and educators working together to reduce inequality and ensure that resources are targeted at those who are most at risk.
“The Samaritans relies completely on volunteers, our Leicester branch is one of a very small number of 24/7 branches of the Samaritans in the country, and it is thanks to the efforts of volunteers that we are able to remain so.”
As well as manning the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helpline, Leicester Samaritans volunteers can also be found everywhere from schools, workplaces, community projects, charity shops, festivals and events to prisons, and working with the homeless.
Since September 2015, Samaritans has offered calls to its 116 123 number for free, removing any financial barrier to calling, with support from telecoms companies and the Big Lottery Fund. Last year, its volunteers made a difference by responding to more than 5.7 million calls for help, an increase of 300,000 on the previous year.
Samaritans volunteers in Leicester will be marking the week with a cake and asking volunteers what it is that inspires them, to give up their time to help achieve its mission, so that fewer people die by suicide.