December 2018 – Samaritans
As we hurtle towards the festive period its important to remember that not everyone is looking forward to Christmas. For many of us it’s a time of sadness as we deal with the loss of loved ones. Some of us may be lonely, some of us may be suffering from debilitating health issues – some of us feel we just can’t go on.
Every single day, around 16 people decide to end their own life across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
That’s why, this month I’m featuring the amazing work of the Samaritans.
The Samaritans vision is for fewer people die by suicide. They work to achieve this by making it their mission to alleviate emotional distress and reduce the incidence of suicide feelings and suicidal behaviour.
They do this by being available 24 hours a day to provide emotional support for people who are struggling to cope, including those who have had thoughts of suicide. They reach out to high risk groups and communities and work in partnership with other organisations, such as Network Rail.
Samaritans in Lancaster, Fleetwood and Over Wyre
The Samaritans operate their listening service from centres in Sun Street, Lancaster, and Edward Street, Blackpool. Last year, each branch answered over 30,000 contacts – this includes telephone, face to face callers, email and SMS. They also train prisoners in HMP Lancaster Farms to provide emotional support to other prisoners by becoming ‘Listeners’. As you can imagine their phone lines and emails get even busier around the Christmas period.
You can find out more about your local branches here – Lancaster and District and Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. These two branches have been providing a service in the local community and nationally for over 40 years.
Samaritans In The Community
People inside prison are up to 10 times more likely to kill themselves than people outside. That’s why Samaritans been working with prison services for over 20 years, and now have a special Listener scheme in 145 prisons.
Samaritans help children and young people prepare for life’s challenges by running workshops and providing materials.
They also support secondary schools in the aftermath of a suicide, through their Step by Step service.
Workplace Training – Cost-effective training courses that support emotional customers or increase staff confidence and skills. Samaritans work with organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors.
You can make an amazing difference with Samaritans, helping to support anyone who needs someone to talk to.
There are between 70 and 100 listening volunteers at each of the two branches in Lancaster and Blackpool. The Samaritans recruit and train volunteers throughout the year in order to keep their numbers consistent. You can find lots of information about what becoming a listening volunteer involves on the web site https://www.samaritans.org/volunteer-us – you can also apply online. Or you can attend an information event at one of the centres – please contact your local centre directly for more details. Samaritans give you full face to face training and provide lots of support for this really rewarding role.
But if being a listening volunteer is not for you, Samaritans also welcome volunteers to work in their Charity Shops in Blackpool and Lancaster and for a variety of other roles such as administration work, fundraising and IT support. Have a look at the Lancaster shop and the Volunteers sites.
The Lancaster and Blackpool branches run entirely from charitable donations with the help of proceeds from shops and from grant applications, legacies, charity of the year schemes and individual donations. There’s more information online about making a donation to the Blackpool or Lancaster branches.
‘Blue Monday’ (the third Monday in January) is known as one of the most difficult days of the year.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Join Samaritans and help beat the January blues by getting together with your friends, family or colleagues over a brew and raise vital funds for Samaritans
Over the last 64 years, Samaritans volunteers have helped save countless lives, but as demand for their services grows and they need your support now more than ever.
Support Samaritans on Monday 21 January or any day throughout January!
Have a brew. Raise money. Save lives.
Sign up here https://www.samaritans.org/media-centre/our-campaigns/brew-monday/what-brew-monday
If you need to talk to Samaritans, whatever you’re going through – you don’t need to be suicidal – call free any time on 116 123 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the centres if you’d like to talk to someone in person – please contact Samaritans for opening hours.
There’s loads more information for you whether you want to talk, to volunteer, to donate money or even tips on how to be a good listener for your friends and family at https://www.samaritans.org/.
And look out for Lancaster’s Ashton Memorial all lit up in Samaritan’s green in December!