They do this by providing a support network through being available 24 hours a day, reaching out to at-risk groups and raising awareness and influencing public policy.
The Samaritans were founded in 1953 in London, with the Sheffield branch opening in 1964. They now have over 206 branches nationwide and rely almost entirely on volunteers to run their free phone number and other services for people vulnerable to suicide.
The Sheffield Samaritans received grant funding of £1,000 from the Hugh and Ruby Sykes Distribution Fund, which has enabled the organisation to provide recruitment and specialised training of volunteers, to learn about Child Sexual
Exploitation and how to support callers who are affected by it.
The Samaritans currently have 120 volunteers to man their phones and text services. They work under the following values; Listening, Confidentiality, Enabling people to make their own choices, Non-Judgement and Human contact. All of which are integral to succeeding at helping those that contact them.
Sheffield Samaritans volunteer, Sandra Waters said:
“As Samaritans is a confidential service, we cannot easily assess our impact. We do occasionally receive a card or note from a caller to thank us for our help. We have also been remembered often by people in their wills and we assume that is because we have either helped them or one of their loved ones.
“We are currently working towards the digital future. We recognise that there is now so many different ways that our callers can contact us and we need to invest more in developing this, particularly around texting and instant messaging.”