Samaritans' volunteers help more people in Scotland to feel better understood

Samaritans’ volunteers in Scotland responded to more than 230,000 calls for help last year.

Figures released today, to coincide with the start of Volunteers’ Week, show that 1,056 volunteers responded to 236,637 requests for support from people struggling to cope.

Across the UK, the suicide prevention charity’s 21,007 volunteers received more than 5.3 million calls for help in 2014, an increase of more than 100,000.*

Samaritans’ Trustee for Scotland, Keith Walker says its volunteers make an invaluable contribution to the lives of people in their communities.

“These figures show a continuing 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 runs from June 1-7, celebrating and showcasing the work of volunteers in all sectors, across the UK.

Samaritans’ volunteers provide support to anyone who contacts them, whoever they are, however they are feeling, and whatever life has 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 T in the Park and Wickerman festival.  Samaritans also works with Accident and Emergency Departments and Network Rail to reduce deaths by suicide and support those affected by them.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. It provides a safe place for anyone struggling to cope. 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.

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

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*Calls for help include all contacts received by Samaritans in 2014 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:

  • For more information about the work of Samaritans in Scotland, please call 0131 556 7058 or email scotland@samaritans.org
  • Volunteers’ Week is an annual event that takes place from 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