Samaritans launch volunteer recruitment campaign

The charity has 21 branches across the country

Samaritans launch volunteer recruitment campaign

Samaritans volunteers, air traffic controller Enda Sheehy | Image: Samaritans

Samaritans Ireland is encouraging people to get involved with the charity, as it launches a recruitment campaign for volunteers.

The charity is best known for the support given to callers on its 24-hour telephone service - but volunteers are also on hand to offer support by SMS, e-mail and face-to-face.

Men and women of all ages and walks of life are among those who dedicate three hours a week to those most in need.

While some overnight shifts are also required.

Regional director for Samaritans Ireland, Cindy O'Shea, said: "As Samaritans volunteers, we offer round-the-clock emotional support to those people and anyone who is struggling to cope with whatever life has thrown at them.

"Even on Christmas Day we answered almost 1,000 calls, spending more than 150 hours on the phone.

"Our busiest hour was between 10.00pm to 11.00pm when volunteers answered a call every 45 seconds.

"As the new year begins, we call on people to consider making a difference to someone's life by volunteering with Samaritans in one of our 21 branches nationwide."

Established in Ireland in 1962, there are now 21 Samaritans branches across the country, with over 1,800 active volunteers on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Volunteer Mary Deery | Image: Samaritans

Mary, a carer, began volunteering with Samaritans over 12 years ago.

She said: "During my time with Samaritans I have learned so much.

"I've grown and developed as a person and the sense of satisfaction I get from knowing I was able to help and support someone is the best feeling".

Air traffic controller Enda has been volunteering since 2012: "Anyone can be a Samaritan as long as you believe in what you're doing and you're willing to listen.

"Allowing someone the space to talk, and really listening to what they want to talk about, are skills I've tried to adhere to both on and off duty."

"What really drives me though are the callers and knowing that by being there to pick up the phone I may have given them a beacon of hope.

"No matter where you are in life, the need to be heard and the need for empathy are things that will be with us always."

To find out more about becoming a volunteer with Samaritans Ireland, people can visit www.samaritans.ie/volunteer, call 01-67-10071 or contact their local branch for more details.

Each branch is run as an independent charity, with administrative support and training given by the Samaritans Ireland head office on Usher's Quay, Dublin.