Wednesday 27th October 2010
"We're the listening ear"...
That's Wendy, volunteer with Chesterfield Samaritans, talking about the Charity's work and how it's there for the people of Chesterfield on a daily basis.
The Chesterfield Post spoke with Malcolm and Wendy at the Mayor's Coffee Morning and they were keen to get the message across that they really are there for everyone, no matter what age or gender, or indeed problem.
They told me that there is a perception that the Samaritans only help the suicidal, but in actual fact, the percentage of people calling threatening to take their own lives is very small.
Volunteers deal on a daily basis with anyone going through a hard time and who just needs to spend time talking to someone who's impartial and can give advice.
Malcolm commented that, no matter how good friends and family are, sometimes it's important to have someone to talk to away from the situation. By talking you can find a way forward.
He urges anyone going through a difficult time to contact the charity by visiting Rose Hill, phoning 01246 270000 or 08457 90 90 90 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The problems that affect people are wide ranging, covering all areas - relationships tend to be the most common, but debt and loneliness are also regular concerns.
Callers are from all backgrounds and the whole age spectrum but the help they get is the same - "We don't tell anyone what to do, we listen and sometimes just talking provides comfort" says Wendy.
The financial downturn hasn't just affected callers either - it's had an impact on the Charity itself. Wendy reported that the shop in Chesterfield town centre has been the saving grace of the charity - "Before it opened, we were struggling", she says, "but at least we can just keep their heads above water and pay the bills."
However, donations have dropped in the last few months as people 'make do and mend' but on the other hand, more people are buying from the shop. Donation days with volunteers collecting money outside Supermarkets have also continued to supply much-needed funds, "People have been very generous" says Wendy.
They appealed for more volunteers to help the Charity operate. Anyone can become a volunteer - information can be received by calling the numbers above. Successful applicants will be trained, with the first 8 weeks on the phones supported by a mentor.
The affect on the volunteers can be great, but both Malcolm and Wendy were keen to praise the support network on the job itself. "It can be very distressing" says Malcolm, "but at the end of a shift, it's important to download, which is why we all call a group leader and talk it through. All calls are confidential so we don't take anything home - we rely on each other."
For more information on becoming a volunteer or if you are in need of a chat and some support then visit Rose Hill, call 01246 270000 or 08457 90 90 90 or
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