Number of Oxford Samaritans dips to 'critical levels'

The number of volunteers to The Samaritans in Oxford have dropped to critical levels, its branch director has said.

Martin Edis said despite an increase in the number of calls to the branch, 30 volunteers had left in the last year.

The charity is to use the centenary of its founder's birth next month to recruit more members.

Mr Edis said volunteering was a rewarding experience and the internal support network was "second to none".

In the last three months, Oxford Samaritans has taken about 5,000 calls - an increase of 8%.

'Not judgmental'

Mr Edis said: "Calls do fluctuate over the year but there has been a steady increase and I don't really know the answer to that but I think everybody's life is tougher than it has been in the past."

One volunteer, Matt Williams, said it was a privilege to be part of the charity, which he has been involved with for two years.

"Just listening, not giving advice, not being judgmental and giving them that space is really important and as long as you can do that you can be a Samaritan volunteer," he said.

Volunteers get extensive training so they can listen to people in difficulty, either face to face or over the phone.

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