Samaritans’ volunteers help more people to feel better understood

Samaritans’ volunteers responded to 5.3 million calls for help last year, an increase of more than 100,000 compared with 2013.

Figures released today, to coincide with the start of Volunteers’ Week, show that 21,007 volunteers responded to 5,331,295 requests for support from people struggling to cope in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2014.*

Samaritans’ Chair, Jenni McCartney, says its volunteers make an invaluable contribution to the lives of people in their communities.

“These figures show an increasing need for our services. I want to thank everyone who gives their time and expertise so that we can be there round the clock, every single day of the year, to help people find a way through their problems.

Our research shows that for almost everyone who contacts us, it’s the human interaction that’s important - getting a response from a real person.  And almost 3 out of 4 people tell us that they feel more understood, and less alone or anxious, after contacting Samaritans.”**

Samaritans wouldn’t exist without the dedication and generosity of our volunteers.  As well as listening to callers, responding to emails and texts, and offering emotional support face to face, there are lots of ways people can get involved. We need people who enjoy fundraising, marketing, helping with admin or IT, and who are happy to apply their skills in different roles.”

Volunteers’ Week is a national initiative running from June 1-7, celebrating and showcasing the work of volunteers in all sectors, across the UK.

Graphic artist Mary Noble has volunteered with Samaritans at its Portsmouth branch in Hampshire for seven years.

“Samaritans is confidential, it gives people a place to off-load.  We’re not there to fix problems, we’re not there to tell people what to do.  We’re there to give them the space to sort things out in their own heads.”

Samaritans’ volunteers provide support to anyone who contacts them, whoever they are, however they are feeling, and whatever life’s done to them.  Volunteers based at its 201 branches across the UK and Ireland are also involved in outreach work in schools, colleges, workplaces and big events like Glastonbury.  Samaritans also works with Accident and Emergency Departments and Network Rail to reduce deaths by suicide and support those affected by them.

For more information about the work of Samaritans, please contact the Press Office on 020 8394 8300 or email press@samaritans.org

Find out more about volunteering for Samaritans by calling 08705 627282 or emailing volunteering@samaritans.org for more information. 

– ENDS –

*Calls for help include all contacts received by Samaritans in the United Kingdom and ROI, and includes helpline calls, emails, text messages and face to face support both inside and outside Samaritan’s branches.  The equivalent figure for 2013 was 5,226,886.

**The statistics quoted relating to the views of those contacting Samaritans are taken from Samaritans’ Talking to our Callers, Samaritans User Survey (2012).

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) 116 123 (ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.
  • Volunteers’ Week is an annual event that takes place on 1-7 June 2015. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. It’s run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, NCVO, in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.
  • For more information about Volunteers’ Week, visit www.volunteersweek.org