How long have you been a volunteer?
I've been a volunteer at the Guildford Branch for 8 months
What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I previously volunteered for Nightline at University and wanted to continue to offer help and support to others who need it. I have also had personal experience of losing a friend to suicide and hated the idea of someone else feeling they were alone and had no-one to talk to.
What does your role involve?
Talking on phone, replying to emails and generally providing a confidential and non-judgemental service to our callers.
What’s the best thing about volunteering?
Volunteering at Samaritans lets me help others alleviate their distress by being there for them. The icing on the cake is when a caller says "Thank you for listening" and you feel that you have genuinely helped by giving them the time and space to talk. I feel proud to be able to say I'm a Samaritan.
What do you feel you’ve learned since joining Samaritans?
Since joining Samaritans I feel that I have learned to be more open minded and understanding and that there may be all sorts going on for a person that you don't know about so it's important not to make any assumptions or judgements. As Samaritans we have to be non-judgemental which is a valuable lesson to apply in every day life also.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about volunteering for Samaritans?
I would advise someone who's thinking about volunteering to go to an open day at their local branch and find out about what it involves by talking directly to other Samaritans. And do it sooner rather than later! I regret not volunteering for Samaritans years ago when I first left university!
As well as the traditional role of a listening volunteer at Samaritans, there are also outreach programs including Prisons, Festival Samaritans, National Rail partnership, supporting schools etc which volunteers can also get involved with and can provide other ways to give back to the wider community.