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Swindon Samaritans make appeal for listeners
LISTENING charity Samaritans has put out a call for volunteers so they can reach out to more needy people.
The Swindon and District branch of the charity has around 85 volunteers who man the phones to take calls from people with problems ranging from debt to loneliness.
But they are looking to bolster their numbers, which total more than 100, so they can increase their outreach work in schools and the Job Centre as well as dealing with more than 27,000 calls a year.
Linda Morgan, director of the Swindon branch, said people from any background are welcome to join.
She said: “At the moment we are looking to take on more volunteers so we can continue to offer emotional support and increase our outreach work.
“We give talks in schools and visit the Job Centre as part of our Feet On The Street programme but this depends on our numbers so we would like to do more of that.
“We are also looking for someone who can man the centre overnight and very often that is when other organisations are shut but we are there.”
Linda said Samaritans volunteers were there to listen rather than advise and often helped people in desperate situations see a way out.
“I’ve been a listening volunteer for about eight years,” Linda said.
“Around 16 people a day in the UK take their own life, which is a lot of people.
“What we seek to do is try to help them see other ways and it is a privilege for us to be able to help.
“Think of a problem and someone will call us about it, be it debt, unemployment issues, loneliness or family troubles.
“I think sometimes not knowing the person makes it easier for the caller – that degree of anonymity and confidentiality can make it easier to open up and we can make a real difference. That’s what we are looking for volunteers to do, make a difference.”
Anyone interested in joining the Samaritans can call the Curtis Street office on 01793 512490, attend an information event this Saturday from 10.30am to noon. Anyone who needs Samaritans support can call the helpline on 0845 790 90 90.