Cork Samaritans is launching a recruitment drive to ensure the only 24-hour branch outside of Dublin continues to operate around the clock.
The branch said it was seeking new volunteers because of a growing demand for its services, led by the 30% increase in caller numbers since the introduction of freephone number 116123.
Last year, Cork Samaritans dealt with more than 67,000 calls to its branch, either by direct visits, through text message and email, and the majority through telephone contact.
The Cork branch also operates outreach programmes and provides a support service for Cork Prison, as well as providing caller support programmes and other services.
The recruitment campaign will begin with a volunteers information evening at the Cork Samaritans branch at 7/8 Coach St, Cork City, next Monday, starting at 7pm.
Cork Samaritans spokesman Ray Cawley said the organisation welcomes interest from all walks of life and that age, qualifications, and previous experience are irrelevant; one important element is a natural ability to listen and an open-minded attitude.
“To operate we need about 200 members who are active and actively doing the duties,” he said.
“We are looking to probably recruit 30 to 40 people this time.”
He stressed that any new volunteers receive full training for their roles.
“We are trained to be a listener and to empathise,” he said, “to discuss the problem with the person who is calling. We do not give advice.”
Samaritans Ireland operates 20 branches around the country, aided by more than 1,500 volunteers.
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