The Samaritans is a listening service offering emotional support to anyone who is struggling to cope. Unsurprisingly, it has seen an increase in calls in the last year. There is a local branch in Peterborough.
Several local companies have helped Peterborough and District Samaritans continue its 24/7 operations as the pandemic continues to impact people’s lives. This support has enabled them to refurbish a previously unused room to bring it into service as a larger office. Here, volunteers take phone calls and emails from people who are experiencing distress, contemplating suicide or needing emotional support.
Ikea Peterborough donated office furniture to equip the offices, whilst Princebuild co-ordinated the refurbishment work at a very competitive price. On behalf of Peterborough City Council, the Property Services Team at Aragon enabled structural improvements to lighting, ventilation and access. In addition, a grant from the Pears Foundation/DCMS enabled the move to a new communications platform with digital phone lines.
Refurbishment enables safe and efficient workspace
Before the refurbishment, the room was used for training, meetings, storage and catering. But its multiple uses meant that it had not been equipped to the standard of a working operations room. Peterborough Samaritans continued to support callers right through the pandemic, however, to maintain safe working conditions they had to limit the number of volunteers on duty to two at any one time. This seriously limited their ability to train and mentor new Listening Volunteers who follow an intensive programme, supported by two experienced Samaritans. So they took the decision to create a new office. This would provide the space to maintain significant social distancing for three or four volunteers.
Martin Cragg, Director of Peterborough Samaritans, said, ‘As a small, self-funded charity, we accepted that we might have to cut corners and use existing equipment and decoration in our larger office. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners, we have been able to set up a business-standard workspace which is Covid-safe for volunteers. This has improved the quality of our communications platform so that we can serve our callers better, and each donation has added to the comfort and efficiency of the space. We also have the benefit of a second office available for extra duties or for online training.’
Thanks to the generosity of our partners, we have been able to restart our mentoring programme for trainees who began their course back in October 2020. We are now recruiting again. Anyone interested in becoming a Samaritans volunteer should contact email@example.com
Peterborough and District Samaritans
441 Lincoln Road
For more information Peterborough.Director@samaritans.org
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