Published: 17:53, 05 December 2019
| Updated: 18:06, 05 December 2019
The Samaritans have opened a new hub in Sevenoaks.
It's the first of a new-style of centre for the charity that offers support to those in emotional distress in that it is housed within the offices of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Buckhurst Lane.
The hub will support callers by phone or email, from 6pm to 8am, when the CAB offices are closed.
All equipment will be set up for each shift to protect the confidentiality of callers.
The demands for Samaritans' services are growing: every 90 minutes someone in the UK or Ireland
dies by suicide, and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.
Samaritans is the only charity that is there for anyone struggling to cope 365 days a year.
Last year, there were eight suicides in Sevenoaks, a number which the Samaritans hope the new hub will reduce.
However, the Samaritans are not just there for people who are suicidal. They support people facing all
types of emotional distress and crisis and at this time of year, with the pressures of the festive
season, people can feel very alone, with their worries magnified, because everyone around them
seems to be having a good time.
The hub has been started with support from volunteers in neighbouring branches, but now it is offering local people the opportunity to volunteer and help the charity that makes such a difference to people’s lives.
Recognising that everyone’s lives are busy and the hub will be offering a flexible approach to how much time people need to volunteer.
Will Merrifield, South East regional director, said: "We know that the people are under increasing pressure to
manage their time and various commitments, it's only right that we look at how to make volunteering with Samaritans easier to fit into modern day life.
"Having some choice will hopefully mean we can attract more volunteers to support our callers."
Anyone can become a Samaritan as log as you are over 18, want to help others, and are tolerant and open-minded. All volunteers undergo selection and training before they start answering helpline calls or emails, and trained volunteers are there to provide mentoring and support.
If you are interested in joining the Samaritans, the hub will be holding a series of information events where you can find out more. Book a place on 07873 334733 or email email@example.com
*For those in need, the Samaritans helpline is free from any phone - even from a mobile without credit - just call 116 123. The call will not appear on your phone bill.