Lifelink/Samaritans Celebrates 50 Years Serving The Community
In the last year alone, Lifelink/Samaritans volunteers have fielded more than 5,500 phone calls from people in need.
And they’ve been there for those people for 50 years.
Some callers are lonely or heartbroken, some are stressed about relationships or jobs, and many others are struggling with their mental health.
Retiree Joan, who volunteered with the organisation since the early 1990s, has been there.
“I was a widow, and volunteered because I wanted to help support others,” she said.
“The biggest problems back then were unemployment, AIDS and suicide.”
“The meatworks had closed down and the forestry industry had changed hands – people were suddenly out of work.”
At the same time, mental health institutions were also shutting up, leaving the community’s most vulnerable people having to find their own way.
Another volunteer, Meg, has more than 40 years’ experience - originally in Wellington and now with Lifelink/Samaritans.
“I saw a sign about Samaritans when I was sixteen, I applied but they told me to come back when I was older, so I did. I believe that society is only as strong as they treat the most vulnerable”.
At its heart, Lifelink/Samaritans was there to make people feel heard, she said.
“We want them to have a space where they were able to express their fears, anxieties, and their joy.”
“We want them to feel safer.”
Anyone who had thought about volunteering from home with Lifelink/Samaritans should give it a go, she said.
Lifelink/Samaritans has an online training course starting in February.
If you interested in volunteering, enquire today: www.samaritans.org.nz/volunteer-form