Organisation:Samaritans Ennis and ClareCategory:Small OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :201676911. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? The Samaritans was founded by Chad Varah in 1953 in the UK. There are 201 branches in the UK and Ireland. We are 1 of 21 branches in Ireland. Our branch was founded on 7th June 1982. Our vision is that fewer people die by suicide. We ensure that there’s someone there for anyone who needs emotional support when times are tough. Being there in someone’s hour of need can save a life and alleviate distress. About 450-550 people die by suicide every year. Our 5 Core values are Listening, Confidentiality, Non-Judgement, People making their own decisions and Human Contact. We do not offer advice as telling people what to do takes responsibility away from them. Exploring feelings alleviates distress and helps people to reach a better understanding of their situation and the options open to them
3. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to adapt its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this? During 2020 Samaritans Ennis and Clare answered 19,064 calls, 450 emails, 39 texts (texts to be replaced by webchat in the future) and 43 Face to Face contacts (suspended in March 2020 due to Covid). If people feel safe, they are more likely to be open about their feelings. Exploring feelings alleviates distress and helps people to reach a better understanding of their situation and the options open to them. Giving people time, undivided attention and empathy meets a fundamental emotional need and reduces despair. Many volunteers had to cocoon due to Covid19 so a lot of volunteers took on extra duties to keep the service going. We want people to be able to talk to us without fear of prejudice or rejection. Our volunteers run community campaigns to raise awareness of our service e.g. GAA.
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.The gratitude expressed by our callers inform us of the value of our service. Many callers who contact us who are lonely, often describe that they have not spoken to anyone that day or that week and how good it is to talk to someone. People tell us things that they may never have expressed to another person e.g. “ I am worried about my husband, he is drinking more than normal since Covid 19” or “ I wake up every morning feeling sad and that feeling stays with me throughout the day” or “I feel guilty because I like to cross dress” or “ I have suffered with depression for the past 5 years” or “I have lost hope I cannot carry on” or “My partner does not want me to meet up with my friends” We have received letters from callers expressing that the Samaritan contact alleviated loneliness, despair, grief, heartbreak. We have been left legacies due to either a personal or family positive Samaritan interaction. We have had callers describe how the call with us had prevented them from taking their own life. Often the caller who had wanted to die by suicide has described how their life has been transformed since that dark period in their life. Some of our volunteers have lost members of their own family due to suicide or have had low points in their own life and who now who want to give back. As our contact with our callers is confidential it is impossible to give more specific detailed case studies.
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact. We can assess our impact by the gratitude our callers express at the end of the call or in email replies or at the end of a conversation at a face to face. We sometimes receive cards or letters from callers expressing how the contact with a Samaritans volunteer helped to turn their life around. It is difficult to measure the prevention of death by suicide as the statistics per year are variable and prevention is impossible to measure There are approximately 450-550 suicides per year in Ireland (approximately 75% men/25% women). The Samaritans head office use questionnaires and surveys to assess how the Samaritans can improve their service. Our branch has a Quality Review by Compliance Head Office every 3 years to assess our branch performance and standards. The outcome of the Quality review and a Risk Assessment as well as ongoing Samaritans training are the drivers for continuous improvement. We also utilise a peer volunteer listening review to ensure adherence to Samaritans core values.
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?The Samaritans unique selling point is that we offer confidential non-judgemental emotional support 24/7 nationwide and 8am-3.30 am in Ennis, without offering advice. We believe that people have the right to find their own solution and that telling people what to do takes responsibility away from them. We are trained listeners, we are not counsellors. Many callers appreciate the fact that we don’t offer advice or solutions to their problems but help them to come up with their own solutions. We don’t know our callers full name or contact number and they don’t know the volunteer Samaritan name (sometimes the caller might tell us their first name and ask for the volunteer first name).This confidentiality (exception safeguarding) frees up a caller to express their true feelings.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.We recruit for new volunteers on an ongoing basis in order to accommodate gaps from volunteer attrition and in order to expand our service hours (we currently cover 8.00 am to 3.30am daily). We are self-funded. We organise fundraising events but a lot of these have not taken place since the emergence of Covid19. We gladly accept donations from the public. Call to Action: Donating to Samaritans can help save a life. It can also alleviate pain and suffering for someone who is going through a difficult time in their life. A donation of €3 can allow us to answer a call, respond to an email, have face to face contact with someone. Training new volunteers is a large cost. Human contact through the phone, email or in person means so much to those in need. Please give a little, to help a lot.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?We are a Non-profit charity, our structure is a CLG with a board of 7 company Directors. Monthly updates on income & expenditure is presented to the Board monthly and expenditure is approved in advance by the board. Our annual accounts are audited and we are in full compliance with returns to Revenue and Charities Regulator. There are no paid staff.