Want to be a Samaritan? My answer is: go for it!
Who I am depends on who you are talking to; I’m a wife, mother, proud grandmother and a friend. I really enjoy spending time with my loved ones, and love their company. And I’ve lots of hobbies too, reading, cooking and keeping fit.
Though I’ve lived in a small rural village my whole life, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to five continents – Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and North America – all in one go.
I still do some self-employed work but I retired from my full time role, which allows me to fit more things in to my day!
My attitude to life and volunteering is… go for it
I felt like reaching out of my comfort zone and had a strong desire to help people. Volunteering with Samaritans has always been at the back of my mind, and I really admire the service they offer.
So when I was walking around the field at the National Eisteddfod and passed Samaritans’ caravan, I decided to go in. A kind man encouraged me to put my name down, emphasising the need for Welsh speakers to volunteer. Not long after I was at Samaritans having an interview and was delighted to accept the role.
Everyone at my branch was so welcoming and I immediately felt part of the team. It felt good to be in a group of people with the same aim, to listen to callers and let them open up about their problems and the situation they are in.
When training started it really opened my eyes to the needs and difficult situations people can face in life. What really helped was the support of my fellow Samaritans on the same shift. We were here for each other, as well being there for the callers which was great additional support.
I don’t volunteer to get a thank you, but it’s good to hear
I volunteer because I want to give back, not to get thanks. It’s just that when someone says ‘thank you’ at the end of a call it means that perhaps I have been able to help them for the time being. And that feels good to hear.
Of course it’s not all plain sailing. Some of the calls can be quite intense and one brought a tear to my eye. In the early stages, I had a mentor who guided me carefully through my first call and was a great support to me. In fact, he continues to be someone I can trust for support when needed.
As a Samaritan you may have one-to-one conversations with callers, but you’re never alone. There is always someone there for you, if you need to offload your own feelings after a call whether that’s straightaway or even the next day.
I’m so glad I decided to go into that marquee in that field at the Eisteddfod, because it really is an honour to be a volunteer with Samaritans.