Leeds Samaritans are appealing for more people to join their ranks as they prepare to celebrate Volunteers’ Week next month.
The city branch of the national charity receives more than 50,000 contacts each year and is supported by 125 volunteers.
Tracey Whitehead, branch publicity officer for Samaritans Leeds, said: “We are really struggling at the moment to recruit volunteers. One of our main criteria is to get more people interested in volunteering and to come to the information evenings. They are run once a month in Leeds.
“We have got to be there every hour of the day and every day of the year; it’s a long time to cover. Each branch has its own problems getting volunteers. You don’t necessarily have to be a listening volunteer, you could do something else; we have collectors and fundraisers.”
Through Samaritans’ network of 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland a team of more than 21,000 volunteers provide the confidential, emotional support service by telephone, email, letter, face to face and SMS to more than 5.6m people every year.
Its volunteers, who are aged from 18 years old, come from all walks of life.
Volunteers’ Week celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.
The end of the extended week, which runs from June 1 to 12, will coincide with a patron’s lunch, a celebration of the Queen’s lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations to which Her Majesty acts as a patron.
More than 21m people volunteer in the UK at least once a year. Volunteering contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy, equivalent to more than 1.5 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product). The next information evening for Samaritans Leeds will be held at 7.30pm on June 2 at its branch on Clarendon Road.