Charity marks diamond day
A charity which supports people with sensitive issues such as suicide and self-harm is celebrating its 60th birthday.
The Bury branch of Samaritans, in Knowsley Street, is holding a events next month to mark the anniversary of the national charity being set up.
The Bury group was launched in 1981 to provide a telephone helpline and face-to-face support for those in need.
Demand for the service is high, with Bury Samaritans receiving about 26,000 contacts last year alone, via email, phone or text.
More than 80 people regularly volunteer at the centre, giving up at least four hours of their time to listen to people.
They are trained in how to deal with delicate issues, and do not give advice, but aim to listen and give people an outlet to discuss their problems.
Donna Webb has volunteered with the charity in Bury for 12 years, and says it is very rewarding. She said: “One of my friends volunteered and said ‘you would really like it’. I wasn’t sure but I went through the selection process, and 12 years later I still love it.
“We provide a listening service 24 hours a day, but we are completely carer-led and run by volunteers.
“Sometimes people just want an independent person to talk to. We don’t offer advice, we listen and help to open up choices for people.”
Bury Samaritans regularly visit the custody suite at Bury Police Station, and anyone who is arrested at the weekend and waiting to appear in court can ask to speak to one of their members.
It costs £26,000 to run the charity in Bury every year, which funds fuel bills and phone charges, which can become very expensive as they offer a callback service.
Donna, a hairdresser, added: “We deal with very sensitive issues like suicide and self-harm, but the training you get is fantastic.
“People don’t have to give their name or mobile phone numbers. Everything you say is in complete confidence.”
The group has volunteers from all walks of life, those who are in full time work or are retired, with the youngest member aged in their early 20s and others in their 80s.
Forthcoming events include awareness days at Marks and Spencer in The Rock on November 9 and 30 and afternoon tea on November 2.
For more information about the charity: call 0161 764 0055.
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