‘I needed to make a difference’ - 24 Samaritans on why they decide to volunteer

The Norwich Samaritans Centre. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Norwich Samaritans Centre. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Volunteers at a lifeline city charity have shared why they decided to give back to coincide with a country-wide campaign.

Samaritans branches around the country come together to mark national awareness day Talk To Us on July 24.

This year, volunteers from the Norwich branch will have a stall at Norwich Haymarket and the train station, where they will answer questions and give an insight into life as a Samaritan.

In 2018, the branch, based at St Stephens Square, took more than 290,000 calls for help and replied to more than 2,000 emails.

To mark the occasion, we asked 24 Samaritans from the branch why they decided to get involved.

- To try to help others and give something back

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- To put something back into life/society. And to meet new people outside of my usual pursuits

- I wanted to make a difference

- To help somebody in their time of need

- It gave me the privileged opportunity of sharing in other people's lives. Best job I have ever done

- To counteract those who take advantage of others for their own gain

- To practice being non-judgmental, understanding and confidential - skills which I try to use throughout life

- I joined Samaritans to pay back a debt. They had supported me during a time of crisis in my own life, for which I will always be grateful

- To try to help people who need it

- A close friend I went walking with gently, over a long period, talked me into volunteering. Best thing I ever did

- I needed Samaritans once - they were there for me. To give something back

- Being privileged to listen to someone who needs an understanding ear

- To help those who don't have anyone to talk to

- To conquer my fears of talking on the phone

- I felt I needed to make a difference to lives (work doesn't fulfil this need)

- After dealing with some difficult issues in my personal life I wanted to continue to listen to others that had no-one to turn to

- To offer the gift of time - time to listen and hear

- To be the person who gives another person a chance to be listened, not just heard but to be really listened to

- Tough times and fragile minds deserve minds that are kind

- I had always been in awe of Samaritans and always wanted to become one. After going through a tough time I wanted to help others

- After retiring, I needed to feel useful again. I chose Samaritans because I'd been a regular caller in my past

- Hadn't heard of Samaritans and saw an advert on television for volunteers - applied as I thought I would be helping somebody

- Found I had enough free time to be a volunteer

- I joined Samaritans almost 40 years ago because I was fed up night clubbing and my girlfriend and I said 'let's do something worthwhile for a change', so I joined up

MORE: 'Some callers cannot see another way' - what is life like as a Samaritans volunteer?

- The Norwich's branch next information day will be held at 10am on Saturday, August 31, when people will be able to find out more about volunteering. Those interested in attending don't need to book a place, but can register their interest by emailing volunteering@norwichsams.org.uk