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Director for Grantham Samaritans is ‘very grateful’ for support as branch celebrates 50 years

A charity branch that is celebrating 50 years is encouraging more people to reach out and seek support.

More people are being encouraged to talk and seek help in line with national Time to Talk Day today (Thursday, February 1). The national awareness day is run by mental health charity Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

As the Grantham Samaritans celebrate its 50th birthday in May, it is promoting this message to get more people to reach out.

Grantham Samaritans supporting Brew Monday event at Grantham station earlier in January.
Grantham Samaritans supporting Brew Monday event at Grantham station earlier in January.

Within Grantham, there are about 80 listening volunteers that are given the skills and training to help anonymous callers who reach out for support.

Fiona Bosner, branch director for Grantham, is “very grateful” for the support the branch has got.

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She said: “Every branch gives emotional support to people, whatever they are going through.

“The service only works if the branches are there and working together to support the national service.

“People who volunteer, it’s a hugely enriching experience.

“I think locally, there is a lot of support to give something back to a national service and help people in every walk of life.”

Since the Grantham branch opened in 1974, it has seen a few changes.

The most prominent is the technology advances as the service not only offers support by phone, but also online chats.

It is hard to say how many calls are received specifically in Grantham as calls come from anywhere.

However, Fiona said that during the Covid pandemic, the service did experience a spike in calls.

She said: “During Covid, the Grantham branch continued to stay open.

“We had the backing of the government because we were seen as key workers.”

Fiona first joined the Samaritans 10 years ago as a listening volunteer, and became the branch director two years ago.

“I wanted to do some voluntary work and I wanted an organisation which helps everyone.

“I find it hugely rewarding and because we work alongside volunteers from all walks of life, we learn from each other.

“It’s a real privilege.”

Some people who may be struggling may not wish to reach out, but at Samaritans “we can talk about anything”, added Fiona.

She said: “I would really encourage people to reach out on our website or call us.

“It doesn’t matter what you are going through, we are here.

“You may not think it’s a massive issue or problem, but if it’s affecting your life then we are here to talk to.”

Looking to the future of the Grantham branch, Fiona hopes the service “continues to support people from any walk of life”.

Anyone who would like to volunteer with the Samaritans can find out more at https://www.samaritans.org/support-us/volunteer/.

Samaritans offer FREE round the clock, confidential support to anyone that wants to talk through their problems, which could include relationship and family problems, bereavement, financial worries, job-related stress or college and study-related stress.

Call Samaritans on 116 123, calls are free from any phone, or visit www.samaritans.org to find out about the wide-ranging support on offer from Samaritans and other organisations.

Samaritans say: “You can get in touch with us about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue.”

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