Samaritans in Spain (SiS)
A special message from the Listening Team
Many of you will have heard and know of the work that the Samaritans UK do in the United Kingdom. Perhaps less of you reading this article will know that we have a similar organisation running in Spain.
Samaritans In Spain is a registered national charity operating under licence from Samaritans UK, offering a confidential, non-judgmental emotional support service in English for those in distress.
The Spanish organisation is financed entirely by fundraising by the good people of the area, kind donations from individuals/organisations and monies generated by the charity shop at the Centro Commercial Punta Marina, Punta Prima. (Just off the Punta Prima roundabout on the N332).
The charity shop is always grateful to receive good quality second-hand clothing and bric-a-brac. If you have such items that you no longer need then please drop them off at the shop or the drop-in centre next door. Regretfully we cannot take large items of furniture. We also always need shop volunteers.
SiS is undergoing a rapid period of change from a small local charity (formerly Costa Blanca Samaritans) to a larger nationwide organisation which supports the whole of the English-speaking community in Spain of any nationality.
The call rate has increased four-fold in the last few years and expansion is constant. As such we are currently looking to increase our pool of volunteers who manage the charity, listen on the phones, answer emails, volunteer in the shop, help with our awareness campaign etc. We always need people from the top to the bottom of the organisation and if you have professional experience working in fields such as financial management, HR, service delivery or income generation, we would be glad to hear from you as a potential Trustee Board Member.
If you would be able to offer a few hours of your time manning the phones in our drop- in centre that would also be greatly received. Volunteers who answer the phones are key to our organisation. Without these, there would be no services to the English community in Spain.
Volunteers normally live within one hour’s travel of Punta Prima and have a caring, able to listen, empathic personality. Nearly everybody who thinks they may be able to do it, can! A short course of training must be undertaken to ensure that you are able to offer the service that our callers need and show the integrity and confidentiality personalities required. This normally takes about five working days and then you are assigned to a mentor for a further few weeks to ensure that you have gained the required confidence to take calls without direct supervision.
Calls taken at the centre and on the mobile duties (carried out during non-office opening hours) cover the whole range of people with problems that range from a small practical problem to those with more serious problems. All problems are treated with the same degree of importance. The range can cover marital/relationship problems, financial difficulties, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, homesickness, problems with employment or lack of it, bereavement and yes occasionally suicidal of course.
Samaritans In Spain believe that everyone has the right to make fundamental decisions about their own life, including the decision to die by suicide.
Your training will teach you to deal with all calls, including the possible suicidal caller, with the same empathic ear, to listen and to avoid giving advice. It will leave you with the confidence and skills to deal with all types of calls that come into the call centre.
All volunteers have full ongoing support after the training and mentoring periods are finished by our in-house volunteer support team. At any time during the training you feel like you wish to reconsider, take a pause or finish completely, that is ok if that is your wish.
If you feel that you can give a few hours each week to help others in need, either on the phones or in our Punta Marina centre, then perhaps Samaritans In Spain is just what you have been waiting for. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office number 966 798 230 to obtain an application form. We very much look forward to hearing from you.
Thank You On Behalf Of Samaritans In Spain.
For those people who have an urgent need of our services, please call our Helpline 24/7 365 days a year or email us (we try to reply within 24 hours). If you prefer a more face to face conversation, call in our drop-in centre for a chat and a brew!
Centro Comercial Punta Marina
Freephone 900 525 100