Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Samaritans group which deals with 1,500 calls a month needs your help

15:30 27 February 2013

Could you help someone in crisis?

Could you help someone in crisis?

A BRANCH of the Samaritans charity which receives more than 1,500 calls a month urgently needs volunteers.

shares

Satisfying role

A VOLUNTEER at the Bury branch of the Samaritans described the role as “very satisfying”.

The man, who has not been named as Samaritans like to keep a low profile, said some calls could be quite upsetting or abusive, even of a sexual nature, but there was support for the volunteers.

He said one of the most difficult calls he has dealt with was a person who had taken an overdose and wanted to talk it through.

“It’s their choice at the end of the day. And you ask them ‘do you want an ambulance’. Sometimes they say ‘yes, I do need help’ so once they have volunteered their telephone number and address we then call an ambulance and that’s the last we hear of it.

“We don’t get any follow through information. Hopefully we have talked that person out of taking their life.”

The man, who became a volunteer with the Bury branch five or six years ago, said volunteers were supported at the end of their shift and if they had had a particularly “harrowing” call.

“You can have a tough evening, a couple of tough calls. It could be a suicide call. You do need support. The main thing is to off-load after each shift and not take it home with you - try not to anyway.”

Volunteers also respond to emails, face-to-face chats are available and a text message service is due to come in soon.

The branch also offers support to prisoners at HMP Highpoint.

The Samaritans in Bury St Edmunds are looking for ‘support volunteers,’ which Nick Laughton, who is on the management committee, said were “much-needed” at the branch to keep it running.

Support volunteers, which is a recently-launched initiative, are needed to help with areas such as finance, administration, fundraising and IT.

The branch, in Well Street, also has just over 100 ‘listening volunteers,’ who take the calls, but Mr Laughton said they always needed more. He said in the past there had always been an adequate supply of people to do the support jobs, but now, as more volunteers also worked, it was unfair to expect them to have a listening and a support role.

“It’s not just the Bury St Edmunds branch where the profile (of volunteers) has changed, and we need, say, a small group of a dozen volunteers who can take these administration jobs off our hands, so the listening volunteers can concentrate on providing the service to the public,” he said.

The Bury branch received just over 20,000 calls last year, with 3,017 for November and December.

It supports the Samaritans across the region in being able to man the phones 24 hours a day.

Callers are put through to an available branch if they cannot get through to the one in Bury.

Mr Laughton said: “We have to provide a minimum coverage for the region, otherwise we are not supporting the nation. We really have to make sure that rota is filled as much as possible.”

He said support volunteers would be fully trained and supported.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact 01284 750000 or write to the branch at 46 Well Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1EQ.

shares

0 comments

Abbey Gardens - are you proud of Suffolk's green spaces?

Welcome to Suffolk Says – your opportunity to give your views on a range of important issues in our county.

Jason Croker

A former Felixstowe man has been jailed after throttling a woman during an attempted rape before dumping his unconscious victim in a field.

The scene of a thatch fire in Stoke-by-Nayland

A picturesque country cottage is still standing today despite a fire ripping through its thatched roof.

Ipswich Town v Arsenal  FA Cup Final at Wembley 1978 - 

Kevin Beattie and Allan Hunter

It is an impassioned debate which never fails to invigorate the East Anglian derby.

Colchester Half-Marathon. Starting and finishing at Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Competitors braved the dismal morning weather today to take part in the Colchester Half Marathon.

The scene after the thatched roof fire in Stoke by Nayland - Picture credit - Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Ten fire crews tackled a thatched roof blaze in a Suffolk village overnight.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train

Rail services between London Liverpool Street and Norwich have been cancelled after a train fault at Diss.

Sir John French: a colourful character and respected soldier

We’ve heard about the Suffolk men who fought at the battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Ipswich Crown Court

A 19-year old man who met up with a 13-year-old girl and exchanged text messages with her despite being given a police caution for kissing her several months earlier has been sentenced to 21 months youth detention.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral overlooking colourful displays in the Abbey Gardens

Suffolk’s most important religious building has been awarded a £300,000 Government grant to pay for urgent roof repairs.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages