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  • York Rotary

Understanding York Samaritans, our 2024 DB nominated charity

On June 14th we were delighted to welcome Judith Kirk and Hannah Mason from York Samaritans to explain how their life-saving operation works in York.


York Samaritans was chosen as our 2024 Rotary Nominated Charity for the Dragon Boat event, and Judith and Hannah clearly demonstrated how much they deserve this nomination. 



With over 5,500 suicides across England in 2023 (that’s 11 people per 100k population) there is a constant flow of phone calls and conversations into Samaritans, handled by over 23,000 volunteers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – even Christmas Day.



Volunteers commit 16 hours per month to this work, and receive intensive training and regular update training.  There are 120 volunteers in York, based at their Nunnery Lane premises.  As well as call, they receive emails, internet chats, and sometimes personal visitors for face-to-face sessions.


Calls are more or less continuous, with very few breaks, and most of the calls they receive are likely to be from people in difficulties of various kinds, or needing to talk, or just lonely.  Some calls, especially suicidal thought calls, are very difficult to handle and Samaritans give support and counselling to their own volunteers in these circumstances.


Although York Samaritans can take calls from anywhere in the UK, they have a large outreach support programme in this area, helping prisons, hospitals, workplaces, railways and schools.


Members were surprised to hear that ALL Samaritans staff are volunteers and need to raise £36k per year in York to maintain their building and services.


The funds received from Dragon Boats are therefore especially significant for them.  They will help upgrade their phone system to be more internet-based; and allow expansion of space to accommodate further volunteers.

There’s no doubt this is an extraordinary charity, well worthy of our support.

l-r: Brian Joscelyne (co-chair of Dragon Boat Team), Judith, President Paul and Hannah

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