DETERMINED to help others, a university student gave up her time to support the Samaritans and offer a listening ear to those distressed over the Christmas period.
Harriet Terrill wanted to do something worthwhile so she chose to volunteer alongside her mum at Samaritans in Portsmouth.
Together they spent Christmas day walking around Southsea handing out Samaritans leaflets and talking to anyone out to enjoy the sunshine.
Caroline Terrill, Harriet’s mum, said: ‘It was really well received. We gave out leaflets to those that weren’t aware of the services and heard some really positive and uplifting stories about Samaritans from Christmas Day walkers, one person even saying Samaritans had saved their life.
Alongside volunteering, Harriet has set up a sponsorship page on JustGiving which says: ‘I’m sure you’re aware that the Christmas period can be particularly harrowing for those who suffer from mental illness, who are lonely or just don’t have anyone to talk to about their problems, and would appreciate any small donation you can give. Any money raised will go towards ensuring that the helpline can stay open, as the charity is not funded by the government and depends entirely on donations.’
Open 24/7 over the Christmas period, Samaritans in Portsmouth is run by 92 volunteers who offer support to anyone who is distressed or who needs to talk. Volunteering for the Samaritans involves giving up just three or four hours a week, along with a six-hour night shift a month, to answer calls and e-mails and talk to those who turn up to the branch distressed or need to talk.
The branch offers monthly information sessions for potential volunteers and training courses three times a year. The next information session is on Wednesday, February 4 at 7pm at 296 London Road, North End, Portsmouth. Call (023) 9269 1313 for more details.