Buxton and High Peak Samaritans mark phoneline volunteer's 25 years of helping callers in distress
A life-saving High Peak mental health charity spent last week lauding the contribution of a volunteer who has been supporting the organisation for quarter of a century.
As she marks her 25th anniversary with the Buxton and High Peak Samaritans, Christine has spent an estimated 3,000 hours listening to phone callers in distress.
She first picked up the phone in 1996 as her four children were old enough to allow her some spare time and Christine wanted to use it helping others.
She said: “It all started because I felt I wanted to give something back but, in reality, volunteering with Samaritans has given me so much more – the satisfaction of helping people in real need and, of course, the wonderful friendships with my colleagues.
Christine went on to explain that the role had taught her a lot about human life and what people have to contend with, and that the moments when she ended a call feeling that she had been able to help someone were immensely rewarding. She intends to keep on supporting callers for as long as she can.
Many of the phone calls in recent days have come from colleagues offering their congratulations.
Christine said: “I’m just overwhelmed and humbled by all the fuss.”
The charity’s Buxton and High Peak branch has around 50 volunteer who between them answer an an average 850 calls a month, as well as email and text communications.
Typically they are responding to vulnerable people in times of intense difficulty, such as sudden bereavement, unemployment or increased isolation. The service has been particularly critical over the past 18 months.
Branch director Jill Pearson said: “I am so proud of all our amazing volunteers and particularly proud of Christine as we celebrate her incredible dedication to being there week in, week out for Samaritan callers.”
New volunteers are always welcome to join the team, whether on the phones or in various other support roles. There is no requirement for specific life experience. Anyone who wants to help others, is tolerant and open-minded is welcome to apply.
For more information, go to samaritans.org/support-us/volunteer/.
Anyone can contact Samaritans free any time on 116 123, even using a mobile without credit. This number will not show up on your phone bill. Alternatively, email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org.