'A Cry for Help from Samaritans' - plea for volunteers - Journal 12 Aug 17

Saturday 12th August 2017
Volunteering with Samaritans of Tyneside - advertorial in the Journal, Saturday 12 August. To find out more please register for our Information Event on 6 September by emailing your contact details to newcastle@samaritans.org or ringing 0191-281-3251 and leaving your name, email and phone number on the answerphone.


The Samaritans on Tyneside are appealing for more volunteers to help cope with a growing number of calls for help from people in despair.  Nationally the charity dealt with more than 5 million calls last year, and the Tyneside branch is one of the biggest in the country.

Now the Samaritans need to recruit more volunteers to help maintain the service.    Often referred to as 'extreme' volunteering because of the demanding nature of the work, training is extensive giving a range of transferable skills such as active listening, supporting people suffering from emotional distress and dealing with a wide range of issues including callers expressing suicidal thoughts.

In our hectic world of today we can sometimes feel overwhelmed with the pace of life and the demands made by relationships, families, caring responsibilities and the need to succeed in education or at work.  It’s easy to see why many of us find ourselves in a crisis situation, contemplating self-harm or even ending our lives. That’s where the Samaritans come in to listen, empathise and support. 

Izzy Milburn, a member of the Tyneside branch leadership team, said they were looking for people from all walks of life and ages to train as volunteers.

 “We offer a 24-hour service, every day of the year, and we need at least 120 people to cover the rota each week,“ she said.  “Our volunteer training is world renowned. Come along and join us and you’ll learn to develop a range of transferable skills, which will benefit you in your personal and working life.”

Training runs over 10 consecutive weeks and we will be running both day and evening courses during the autumn.  The volunteering commitment is a minimum of two-daytime duties and one overnight every four weeks.  Duties are between 3-5 hrs long and cover a 24/7 service.

Do you have qualities suitable for the volunteer role?

Are you able to listen well and respond with empathy?

Do you have the patience to give people time to tell their story?

Can you respect the view of others without judging them?

Can you offer confidential emotional support, without giving advice?

If so, and you would like to find out more about volunteering, please contact us:

0191 2813251 (voicemail) and leave your contact information (name, email address, phone number), or email the local office onnewcastle@samaritans.org to register for our next information evening on Wednesday 6th September at the Samaritans Tyneside branch in Newcastle.

Liz Twist, recently elected as MP for Blaydon, has been a listening volunteer with Samaritans since 2011 and revealed in her maiden speech that her husband, Charlie, died by suicide. “All of us face really difficulties from time to time and really need someone to talk to. Samaritans provides a really safe place to be able to talk about how you are feeling during those hard times,” she said. 

“Being a listening volunteer is really important to me - to feel that I'm doing something practical which helps people going through those hard times when it can be difficult to talk to those nearest to us. As a new volunteer I was given really good training in listening to people in distress, and volunteers are supported right through their work with Samaritans.

"Just having someone to listen when you're having a hard time can make all the difference - and Samaritans volunteers are there to listen, 24/7". 

The Tyneside branch received more than 66,000 contacts last year. This total included helpline phone calls (Freecall 116123), e-mails (jo@samaritans.org), text messages (07792-909090) and face-to-face support inside and outside the charity's branch in Jesmond, Newcastle.