Be there for people who desperately need someone.
Our incredible volunteers run more than 200 branches and locations across the UK and Ireland. They offer their time to help to deliver our 24-hour emotional support service to callers in many ways, from answering telephones and emails, to fundraising, generating publicity, administration and finance.
You don’t need to have been through a particular life experience or be from a certain walk of life. Anyone who wants to help others, is tolerant and open-minded is welcome to apply.
Volunteer recruitment and the pandemic
We continue to receive large numbers of volunteer enquiries.
Our branches have worked hard to adapt our volunteer recruitment processes so that new volunteers can continue to join us during a challenging time. The process may take a little longer and is subject to change where necessary.
If you would like to volunteer with us and are happy to wait for a place, please continue to read through the following information and you can register your details with your local branch.
The local branch volunteers will then be in touch with further information when they can and as vacancies become available. Please be patient with us during this time and wait for branches to contact you.
How are you keeping volunteers safe?
Samaritans is a critical service, needed now more than ever and in line with government advice we plan to keep our listening service open and will continue to operate it from branches wherever possible. Please be assured that the safety of our volunteers is of upmost importance and we will continue to monitor the situation. All our branches are applying strict guidelines with regard to hygiene standards and social distancing.
What you get out of being a volunteer
Above all you’ll have the incredible satisfaction of knowing you’re helping people who are in despair. In addition, you’ll learn valuable new skills, make new friendships, and be part of an amazing group of people.
I've learned so much about life and people. It's humbling and rewarding to be able to help in some small way by being there for people who need us.
Lynsey, Samaritans volunteer
Ways you can help Samaritans
There are lots of ways you can volunteer for Samaritans, it all depends on what skills you have and how much time you’ve got to give.
Listening volunteers answer calls and messages from people who really need someone to talk to. You’ll be based in one of 201 branches in the UK and Ireland.You’ll be based in one of 201 branches in the UK and Ireland.
Become a Samaritans listening volunteer
Support volunteers help branches in a variety of ways, marketing our services, fundraising, organising events, providing IT support or helping out in one of our shops.
Support Samaritans in other ways
More about volunteering with Samaritans
Do you offer study or work experience placements?
We do not offer study or work experience placements. However, we do recognise that volunteering for our service could offer you some valuable transferrable skills. We do ask that given the time and resources involved in training as a volunteer that you can commit to at least a year.
Can I volunteer if I have used Samaritans service before?
You can volunteer if you’ve used our services before, and if you have experience of mental health conditions. The important thing is that you’re self-aware, in the right place in your life to be able to support others and know when you need to ask for support from your branch or take a break.
When you apply to be a volunteer, we won’t specifically ask if you’ve used Samaritans services before, or about any mental health diagnoses you may have had. In your interview we will ask you why you want to volunteer with Samaritans, about any time you may have needed support and how you have offered your support to others.
Can I volunteer with Samaritans if I have a criminal record?
Samaritans is committed to safeguarding those that use our service, which includes carrying out background checks on certain volunteer roles. We actively promote equality of opportunity for all and welcomes applications from a wide range of applicants.
If you have a criminal record it won't necessarily stop you from becoming a volunteer. Each case is considered individually, on its merits and we do not discriminate unfairly against any applicant based on a conviction or criminal record information disclosed to us. We will rely on consent and you will be given the chance to tell us more about the offence if necessary. For more information you can read our Criminal Records Vetting Policy.
Can I volunteer with Samaritans from overseas?
No. Samaritans operates throughout the UK and ROI and you do need to be based in these countries in order to volunteer with us.
The website www.befrienders.org lists international organisations who offer suicide prevention services and you could try there to look for an opportunity in your home country.
We are not able to support individuals with their visa applications.
Can I start straight away?
No. All of our volunteers have to undergo a recruitment and training process in all roles, and our volunteering is not something you can start immediately.
Does Samaritans pay volunteer expenses?
Yes. We believe you should never be out of pocket as a result of volunteering with us. We will reimburse reasonable travel and other out of pocket expenses incurred during their volunteering activities, in accordance with the branch’s Volunteer Expenses Policy.
If you are currently claiming any benefits, volunteering shouldn’t affect your right to claim. Please speak to your job coach or benefits adviser before starting to volunteer.