A welcome and a cup of tea...
Andy Roberts, 58, has been a Listening Volunteer for Worthing Samaritans since his early 30’s.
He explains how he became involved, after being curious about Samaritans as a child.
“After the recession of the early 1990’s mortgage interest rates went up to unsustainable levels and, like many others, we nearly lost our house - a very stressful time when we were still pretty newly married and with a young family! One day I was standing outside Bunces Hardware Store (just opposite the branch), with half an hour to spare and so I went and knocked on the door and asked about volunteering. I expected the door to be opened by an old lady who would offer me a cup of tea and a biscuit. Sure enough I wasn’t disappointed! However, much to my surprise the lady was lovely, very 'down to earth’ and I instantly knew I had made the right decision to knock on the door!
“I think it’s an amazing organisation and cause to be involved with. You’re volunteering with a bunch of people most of whom you wouldn’t have met but for the Samaritans. I think you ‘count your blessings’ on every single duty. I think it makes you far more broad-minded than perhaps you would have otherwise been. It keeps your ‘feet on the ground’ and it’s a real privilege to be with people who are really ‘going through the mill’.
Like all Listening Volunteers, Andy finds some calls challenging:
“Obviously there are some calls that you ﬁnd amazingly challenging perhaps from two opposite angles really. Firstly, those calls that you feel you have a real empathy with and can relate to but, at the same time have to remain ‘neutral’ from for the beneﬁt of your caller and secondly, those calls that are way outside anything you have experienced yourself, or that are personally very challenging in terms of their subject matter. Again though, as with all calls, there is the preparation and training which is so fundamental to all we do as listeners.”
Andy strongly believes in what Samaritans do:
“I think ‘Sams’ is a brilliant charity and whilst processes may have changed over the years, the core values remain, in that we are, basically, trained listeners available, anonymously and conﬁdentially, to be beside people in their moments of crisis - which everyone is susceptible to in their own personal journey through life. And, through the training and preparation, we’re able to do that, to the best of our ability, without prejudice or judgement.”
“I’ve always felt valued at Worthing ‘Sams’ and part of something that can really make a diﬀerence to people’s lives when they most need it. I’d like to think that it has help shape me into a more tolerant person than I otherwise may have been. I’ve always felt very supported by fellow volunteers.”
Interested in becoming a Samaritans Volunteer Like Andy? Check out our volunteering page.