In the absence of Marion, Margaret Whittaker took the chair at the first meeting of the new M.U. year.
The speakers – Mr Andrew Horrocks and Alison – gave us a talk about the Samaritans. Mr Horrocks explained how the movement began, its policies and the way it works. Then both speakers answered questions from the audience.
The Samaritan organisation was started by the Rev. Chad Varah, who, in the 1930s, was a young curate in London. When faced with conducting the funeral service for a fourteen year old girl who had committed suicide, and then forced to bury her in the part of the cemetary that was unconverted ground, he was horrified and determined to change things.
When he became a Vicar, this aim became possible. He let it be known that anyone in trouble could come and talk to him and to the ladies who provided tea and biscuits. His premise was that sharing troubles with other human beings would lower any tensions – ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved’. Basically the idea was really to listen to people.
And so the Samaritans started. From the beginning the policy was to listen, and not to give advice, not to tell people what to do. People must have ‘self determination’ and decide for themselves the way forward.
Samaritans are non-judgemental and everything they are told is confidential. Always the main help is in listening to the troubled person. However, for the sake of best outcomes, after every shift the Samaritan will report to the leader in charge.
The Samaritans provide a unique services in that someone is always on call, 24 hours a day. Most enquiries and requests for attention come via the phone, but nowadays people make contact also by email, letters, face-to-face and texting.
Also the work of the Samaritans has expanded in that volunteers go into schools to talk to children about bullying, etc. Other representatives go into prisons, and even prisoners themselves are trained to work as Samaritans.
Mr Horrocks continued, saying that workers are volunteers, most being women. And now there are 201 branches in the UK and Ireland. The organisation answers five million calls a year, most calls are from people with mental health problems.
As an afterthought, Alison commented that there aren’t many ‘thank yous’ but then she read out (with the writer’s permission) letters of thanks to the Samaritans for changing lives for the better.
At the end of the talk, Mary Clark thanked Mr Horrocks and Alison for the talk and then everyone enjoyed refreshments.
Mothers’ Union Favourite Recipe | Blackberry & Apple Crunch – click here for recipe
I am still collecting baby clothes for the premature baby unit, also ‘fish & chip’ babies.
An evening outing & meal is being arranged for the June 17th meeting. Please see Elsie for details.