Samaritans have been in Ware for nearly 50 years, covering East Herts and parts of Essex. Our vision is that fewer people die by suicide and we’re always looking for new volunteers to help us achieve this.
But what’s is really like being a Samaritan? My name’s Julia and I look after recruitment and selection at the Ware branch. I’ve asked Vicky, one of our volunteers, to tell us her about her experiences and why she loves being a Samaritan volunteer. Read on to find out more:-
Tell us, Vicky, what’s it like being a Samaritan?
It’s fun! I feel I’m making a contribution as well as enjoying myself too. I like knowing that I’m doing something positive for the community.
I’ve met such a huge range of people I wouldn’t come into contact with normally. No shift is ever the same!
So, how long have you been volunteering at Ware?
I got my number – which is our way of saying I was ‘fully-fledged’ – around 18 months ago.
What’s the training like?
It was a longer process than I expected – very thorough and I felt very well-prepared for taking calls. We did a lot of roleplay (never going to be my favourite activity) and my group was lovely. We keep in contact with each other still and we all support each other.
My mentor was the best part of the process – we really bonded and I felt a real connection. It’s great knowing that someone’s looking after you when you start taking calls.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I think that it’s talking to people – finding out about their story and listening to them – and hopefully helping them a bit in their life – making that connection.
How much time do you spend volunteering?
I spend 3 hours approx. a week on my listening shifts. I also help out in other areas but you don’t have to. I find that it fits in with my life. Samaritans is good like that – a very flexible way of volunteering. We also do 5 hours a year of on-going training to keep our skills up to date.
Thanks for sharing your story, Vicky, we really appreciate it!
For those of you reading this blog and wondering if you could do this too, I’d say come along to one of our Information sessions to find out more (details at: http://www.samaritans.org/branches/herts-and-essex-ware-samaritans/ware-branch-information-sessions).
We’re looking for ordinary people who are open-minded, non-judgemental and who care.
And my final word – I’ve got far more out of being a Samaritan than I’ve ever put in – and it’s changed my life so much for the better. What could it do for yours?
Samaritans: our vision is that fewer people die by suicide. We work to achieve this vision by making it our mission to alleviate emotional distress and reduce the incidence of suicide feelings and suicidal behaviour.
For further information on volunteer roles available you can also get in touch with #TeamHerts Volunteering: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01462 689 409.