Samaritans need your help

More volunteers are desperately needed to staff a charity shop, which funds a helpline for people in crisis.

Friday, 22nd September 2017, 2:53 pm
Updated Monday, 25th September 2017, 10:32 am
The Samaritans are appealing for people to volunteer in their charity shop. Malcolm Wright, Rita Milner, Andrea Rhodes

Each day, the Samaritans Wakefield and District branch provides a listening ear for 100 callers in need of someone to talk to.

The branch’s Wakefield city centre charity shop provides vital cash to keep the free helpline service running 24 hours a day.

But it could be forced to close for large chunks of the busy Christmas trading period unless more people volunteer to staff it.

Malcolm Wright, who has volunteered for the branch for 14 years, said: “We get in the region of 100 calls every day, which can be anything from someone feeling lonely, experiencing bereavement or a relationship break down, struggling mental health issues or feeling suicidal.

“We need to pay for those calls so that they can remain free to the people who make them - and the costs of keeping the branch open are very high.

“We need the shop to be open so that we can make a profit to cover our overheads and to make sure that anyone who wants to talk to a Samaritans volunteer can do whenever they need to.”

Shop volunteers would not be required to work on the charity’s helpline and instead would give a few hours of their time each week to serving customers and sorting stock.

Mr Wright, 74, of Thorpe Audlin, said: “I really don’t want us to have to close in the run up to Christmas. If we close one day of six because we can’t get enough staff, we lose 16 per cent of our takings.

“The shop needs to stay open to make sure the centre stays open to support our callers.”

Anyone who wants more information is asked call the shop on 01924 694830.