Samaritans is a charity established in the UK by Chad Varah in 1953. Since then it has grown exponentially and more recently, has spread even to countries like Spain.
The Samaritans’ main function is to listen to anyone who is experiencing distress. Communication is mostly via telephone, free of charge. There is also an opportunity to speak to front line staff at the shop, and in the privacy of the Samaritan’s drop-in centre at Punta Marina commercial centre. Samaritans are also accessible by email. All listeners are trained volunteers who serve in rotas and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. How many hours or how often they offer their services (‘listen’) is up to the individual volunteer.
Samaritans listen to people who are either lonely, or feel themselves unable to express their feelings, concerns, or problems to those around them. They do not ‘counsel’, but provide an empathetic ear. Volunteer listeners are drawn from all backgrounds, all ages, and all walks of life. After initial training all new listeners are supported with mentoring. It is not only those who face life traumas, bereavement, or those burdened with guilt, who contact Samaritans. Anyone who feels the need for emotional support, encouragement and lacking confidence will benefit by talking to a Samaritan. A call to the Samaritans could last a few minutes or much longer, since callers are never rushed.
The need for this type of help in the community is exemplified by the rapid expansion of Samaritans in Spain since its inception in September 2005. Increasingly, Samaritans in Spain not only require more volunteer listeners for its primary function, but also to help in administration, publicity and other varied roles. With branches in Madrid, Denia and a charity shop and drop-in centre in Punta Marina (Punta Prima), the latter established in 2013, Samaritans in Spain are now a regular feature as a charity in Costa Blanca (North and South).
Participants at a meeting on 13th January 2017 at the drop-in centre were unanimous in expressing their own sense of fulfilment and joy in serving as Samaritans. Thank you to the following volunteers.
Fionnula Fitzsimons, Elizabeth Rushton, Pamela Russell, Helena Smith, Jane Troubridge
Come and meet us at the Recruitment Day, Wednesday 22nd from 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. at the Samaritans Centre, Punta Marina Commercial Centre.