Changing Lives: Interested in Volunteering?
When you volunteer for Samaritans, you touch another person’s life when it really matters, and it changes you too.
Come to our next information session on Wednesday 28th March from 7pm to 8pm to find out more. It's at the Samaritans Centre at 13 Upper High Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UT.
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About Winchester & District Samaritans
The Winchester branch of Samaritans has been going since 1976 and in that time the centre has had three homes, firstly in Stockbridge road, then Parchment Street and we're now in our own premises at 13, Upper High Street.
In the life of the branch there have been nearly 1500 members, mainly working as listeners, but many have providing essential support in administration, gardening, management of premises, fundraising and so on.
At present we have nearly 100 active listening volunteers who take phone calls, see visitors face-to-face and answer emails and texts. The branch is open to visitors everyday between 12.00 (noon) and 22:00 (10pm) and listening volunteers are on duty from 12.00 to 02.00 every day and also from 02.00 to 07.00 two nights a week.
Each year we have about 14,000 telephone conversations, answer 3,000 emails and 6,000 text messages, as well as seeing 500 visitors to the branch. Of those various contacts, at least 8,000 are from people who are contemplating suicide.
As well as working in the branch we have an active programme with local schools especially Peter Symonds Sixth Form College, Andover College and Sparsholt College.
We also regularly give talks to police at the Netley training centre.
We are part of the national partnership with Network Rail and attend whenever there is an incident. We also use the opportunity of the 24/7 awareness day in July to provide information to rail users outside Winchester Station.
We are one of six branches who are collaborating on a pilot with the charity Missing People In the current pilot there is an arrangement with six Police forces. They will contact Missing People if they are notified that someone is missing who is thought to be at high risk of harming themselves. Missing People then contact the branch on call and ask us to make a call to that person. So far we have made over 30 calls and had a useful conversation with a number of those missing persons.
11 members of the branch support a team of up to 10 listeners in Winchester Prison by holding a team meeting and debrief one evening every week. Because of the turnover of prisoners we run three training courses each year. The Listener training is closely linked to the standard Samaritans training, but adapted for the special conditions of prison life. Both prisoners and the prison team learn much from the interactions between Samaritans, Listeners and prisoners, and we hope that the opportunity to talk in confidence about their worries contributes to a reduction in the number of prisoners whose thoughts turn to self harm or suicide.