Urgent appeal for more Samaritans to support Chesterfield folk

Chesterfield Samaritans at their new premises on Saltergate.Chesterfield Samaritans at their new premises on Saltergate.
Chesterfield Samaritans at their new premises on Saltergate.
An urgent appeal for more Samaritans to support Chesterfield folk who are struggling to cope has been sounded.

The Chesterfield Samaritans group made the plea ahead of its move to a new state-of-the-art base in the town.

Last year, the charity’s 40 big-hearted volunteers - more commonly known as listeners – handled almost 30,000 calls from individuals in need of confidential emotional support, up from about 23,000 in 2013.

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These calls included people experiencing relationship problems and employment issues as well as those in distress and on the brink of suicide.

The group is now hoping to provide its often life-saving service 24/7 – but to achieve that dream it needs 160 listeners.

Cliff Foulkes-Flint, who has volunteered with Chesterfield Samaritans for the past ten years, said: “We’ve spoken to people who are suicidal and they’ve phoned back later to say ‘thank you’ or they’ve sent us flowers and cards – to know we’ve helped turn their lives around is the best feeling.

“I’d desperately urge people to join us.

“It really is the most rewarding thing anyone could do.”

Volunteers undergo thorough training and are supported by a friendly and experienced team.

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The group is currently in the process of moving to new offices at 121 Saltergate after being located at Rose Hill for the past 40 years.

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The new, bigger base – which is expected to officially open next month – is in a more prominent location and is disabled-friendly.

Mr Foulkes-Flint thanked Newbold builder Simon O’Donnell, who has worked tirelessly to transform the building.

He also appealed to other local businesses to aid the group by providing IT support, office furniture and removals help.

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To discuss ways you could help, call Mr Foulkes-Flint on 07724820993.

• The Samaritans began in London in 1953, founded by a vicar called Chad Varah. He got the idea after conducting a funeral for a 14-year-old girl who had started her period but had nobody to talk to and took her own life as she feared she had a sexually transmitted disease. The first call to the new service was made on November 2, 1953 and this date is recognised as the Samaritans’ official birthday. Since 1984, the charity – which has 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland – has been contacted by nearly 70 million people. Donate to the Samaritans at www.samaritans.org. If you need someone to speak to in confidence, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or email [email protected]