How long have you been a volunteer?
I've been a volunteer at the Jersey branch of Samaritans for 13 years and four years as a Festival volunteer.
What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I had always wanted to volunteer for a charity although I hadn't really heard about Samaritans back then. When I moved to Jersey, I was more settled and able to commit to volunteering so when I saw the branch was advertising, I went along for an interview and that was that!
What does your role involve?
As a Festival volunteer, I offer emotional support, like other Samaritans, but in muddy fields, surrounded by tents and hundreds of people! It's a much more proactive role - we approach festival goers who are passing by as well as being there for those who specifically come to talk to us.
You are very much working as part of a team for anything from three days to a week and you set up a living tent as well as a work tent so there is shopping, cooking and cleaning as well as the primary work offering emotional support at all hours of the day and night.
What’s the best thing about volunteering?
I get so much more than I give back; it's humbling and rewarding to be able to help in some small way by being there for people who need us. I think Samaritans is a wonderful cause. Our work at festivals plays such an important role in publicising our service amongst the general public and high risk groups such as young people and men.
What do you feel you’ve learnt since joining Samaritans?
I have learnt so much about life and people. The great thing about Samaritans is that you can get involved in so much - over and above listening volunteering - and I've really enjoyed that. I have led and trained volunteers and developed my training, presentation and management experience.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about volunteering for Samaritans?
Do it! You will meet some amazing people. Your branch or Festival branch will comprise of volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life. Samaritans is such a good organisation to be involved in and there is scope to do as much as you want. You will talk to amazing callers as well on the phone, face to face and via email or text.