Samaritans ask for volunteers as distress calls rise

The Samaritans has launched a campaign to recruit 2,000 new volunteers by
next April to meet demand for its services.

The number of volunteers manning the charity’s phones fell by 4 per cent
last year to 18,700, but the number of calls to the charity rose by the same

The charity’s 203 branches will each try to recruit 10 volunteers. While the
campaign will be centrally driven, the branches will do their own recruiting.

It would cost up to £120 to recruit a volunteer centrally compared with £80
locally, explained Chris James, director of volunteer resources at The

He said the charity needs to focus on retention as well as recruitment.

Next April, the charity will run a training weekend to provide information
and advice to branches on the retention and motivation of volunteers.

Volunteer numbers are now at their lowest since 1975, having fallen steadily
since 1993 when the charity reached a peak of 22,500 volunteers.

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