Galway Samaritans are asking people in Galway city and the surrounding county to consider becoming listening volunteers with the organisation. The number of calls received by the Galway branch increases every year and new volunteers from the local community are always needed to help sustain the service.
Samaritans require dedicated people who are good listeners, who do not feel the urge to give advice and who can refrain from judging people’s actions. Dedication and commitment are very important qualities for any prospective volunteer to have. They ask ask for four hours hours of your time each week and a minimum commitment of one year. This commitment is very important to ensure that callers to Samaritans receive the best quality service.
The current Director of Galway Samaritans, Heather Pope says excellent training is provided to all new volunteers ensuring that the same high standard and consistent service is there for anyone who needs their service.
“Samaritan volunteers are trained to be active listeners – we hope that by encouraging a caller to express how they are feeling in a safe, non-judgemental way empowers them to find their own positive way forward. Being a good listener is about caring enough about your fellow human being to give them your time and support when they’re going through a crisis.”
During the last year, the Samaritans Branch in Galway received 35,500 contacts - from all kinds of people with all kinds of problems. Contact was mostly by telephone, but also by email, by letter, by visit to the branch or by SMS. Talks on emotional health were conducted by the Outreach Team who went out to schools, colleges and community groups promoting awareness of the service and encouraging people to talk to someone when they are feeling distressed or in despair. Festival Branch has a higher presence on the ground than ever before with Samaritan volunteers on duty at all of the various music festivals and events around the Country.
“Our publicity campaign is ongoing with Samaritan posters, leaflets and literature being distributed as widely as possible and events such as our 24//7 Day promoting awareness of the service. Our little Smart Car is a great means of getting our contact number out there – you’ll see it popping up in many different locations around Galway and Mayo.
“The Branch in Galway needed €57,000 to cover all of its costs last year – this was achieved mostly by fund-raising – undertaken by Samaritan volunteers in the Branch with lots of help from our friends or by individuals, community groups or businesses that either sent in donations or ran fund-raising events on our behalf. “We are so thankful to those that help us – without their kindness, generosity and support we couldn’t continue to sustain the service we provide nor could we endeavour to achieve our vision – one of a society where fewer people die by suicide.
If anyone wishes to help Galway Samaritans, they are welcome to attend an Information Meeting at 7.30pm, on Tuesday February 22 at the Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Oranmore, Galway, or alternatively at 7.30pm on Tuesday March 1 at the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Galway. Attendance at one of these Information Meetings is mandatory if you wish to become a Samaritan volunteer. Contact the selection/recruitment line on 091-561224 or 086 2468203 or email [email protected].
If you need someone to talk to, Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 at 091-561222 or 1 850 609090, or by emailing [email protected] samaritans.org, or by writing to Pat Smith, 14 Nuns Island, The Galway Centre is also open for callers most days during day times hours. Whatever you’re going through, Samaritans will be there for you.