2007 2008 Samaritans

Swindon and District Samaritans: Who are we?

Part of the international Samaritans movement Swindon and District Samaritans is an independent charity run by volunteers that provides emotional support to the people of Swindon and the surrounding area including Chippenham, Cirencester, Devizes, Malmesbury, Marlborough and Faringdon. The Swindon and District Samaritans team of approximately 100 listening volunteers offer emotional support to our callers over the telephone, in person or by e-mail and SMS, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In 2007
  • We received a total of 36,925 calls, an increase of 17% on 2006.


  • 131 people visited our Centre to talk face-to-face with a listening volunteer


  • We responded to 1060 e-mail contacts and 558 SMS texts


  • 72% of those whom we listened to expressed distress and suicidal thoughts


Our volunteers:

  • 100 listening volunteers cover 260 duty hours per week (or 13,520 hours per year). A 24/7 service is provided with support from the Samaritans branch network
  • A team of volunteers run our shop supported by a Shop Manager selling donated items

It will cost £162 a day to run our service in 2008 covering our core costs e.g. telephone costs, training, publicity. The money donated by Swindon Cares last year made a significant difference for us in the area of publicity in 2 ways:

  • Raising awareness of the service throughout Swindon and the local area, through outreach and advertising of the telephone and email contact numbers. This is particularly relevant with the Outreach work with the new communities and the schools in Swindon
  • Helping the recruitment of new volunteers by promoting the opportunity to get involved. Our plan is to recruit 30 volunteers per year and we would like to achieve that from across all of the communities in Swindon and the surrounding area.

What did we do with the money?

We purchased a secondhand white van. The money donated was used to cover the costs of purchasing this van and also painting the outside with the familiar green logo and the details of the Branch contact numbers along with information to say that the van was donated by Swindon Cares. We use the van when we make Outreach visits and when the van is not being used for transport we park it at various prominent points to raise awareness of the services.

This has been an extremely cost effective way of having a regular presence in the town. We had previously used bus adverts to raise awareness but as they are only carried for 3 months the van offers an on-going opportunity for marginally greater cost.