First and foremost, the role of The Samaritans is to respond to our callers by phone, email, text or face to face in our branches.
However, each branch do try and be proactive and visible in the local community.
At the Horsham and Crawley branch, we have small and dedicated teams that visit the Salvation Army based in Depot Road, Horsham and Crawley Open House. Volunteer numbers permitting, listeners are available in Horsham on alternate Thursday evenings as part of ‘Hope in Community’ and in Crawley on alternate Wednesdays to offer the opportunity for people to talk about anything that may be troubling them.
These sessions are so important in helping to support the most vulnerable members of our local community.
We are continuing to develop our outreach programme and are currently working in partnership with West Sussex County Council on the implementation of its Suicide Prevention Strategy.
We lead workshops and assemblies in secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges, and provide talks to a variety of community groups.
Our Samaritans branch also participates in a national partnership with Network Rail.
With our area covering some of the busiest railway stations, from Haywards Heath, Three Bridges and out to Billingshurst along the Horsham line, we are available to provide emotional support to rail staff and passengers when needed.
We take part in two national events each year. You may have seen us on a very hot July day at Horsham Station for ‘The Big Listen’. Look out for us at one of the larger stations on 21st January when we will be handing out teabags as part of Brew Monday’.
Every prison in the country has a Listener scheme run by The Samaritans in partnership with the Prison Service and the government. Our branch is linked with Lewes Prison. Together with Samaritans volunteers from Brighton and Eastbourne, we train and debrief prisoners as listeners for other prisoners.
Rates of suicide, self-harm and mental illness are much higher among the prison population than in society, and prison listeners are available all day every day.
They provide a vital service to those arriving at prison, often for the first time, as well as to those coping with a huge range of emotional problems. As a consequence of their work, listeners also learn and develop talking and active listening skills that we hope they will take with them when they have completed their sentences.
All of these activities only happen because of the commitment of our volunteers who give their time, not only to our callers through all hours of the day and night but also to ensure we are a visible part of our community.