Late 2003 Cilla wrote an article about the invaluable work done by the local
branch of the Samaritans.
The piece called, A Friend In Need
, featured the then manager of the Hull branch Wendy.
Since the article was written a new director, Edward, has been appointed
and along with him have come some changes to the service.
These changes will have both a local and national effect on how the service is
viewed and run.
The most important of these changes is the centralization of the service with
particular consideration to working practices and procedures.
It is important to ensure there is complete consistency across the 203 branches nationwide.
This is done so that the same service can be delivered across the country.
Due to dropping numbers of volunteers, a caller may ring up and speak to someone
who is not local to his or her immediate area.
If that caller rings a number of times over a short period, problems could arise
if the response they got was not a uniform one.
To enable this uniform response at a national level, policy meetings are held at
Samaritans Headquarters in Ewell, Surrey.
During these meetings, which are heavily attended, discussion takes place
as to the best way to provide the service.
The policies agreed upon are then passed down to the branches, which then pass
on the information to their volunteers.
The working practices are discussed and changes are made; in particular recent
changes have been made to the training of volunteers.
A completely new training course has been devised that is standardized and comprehensive.
The course aims to incorporate different aspects of working practice from all regional branches.
After some reluctance this course is now being implemented throughout the country.
The system is to be organised in such a way to avoid being seen as top-heavy.
Changes at the top are needed to streamline the decision making process.
This said, the communication down the chain of command is a two-way stream;
all these changes are discussed within the branches at regular committee
meetings, and then sent back up the chain.
This is vital so Head office receive the feedback needed to see how the
changes are being implemented and their effectiveness.
The meetings, mentioned earlier, are attended by volunteers: in fact within the
whole of the organization there are very few paid employees.
It is also important to realise that the Samaritans exist purely on donations,
and receive no funding from Government, local council, or Health services.
To cope with the 21,000 calls the Hull branch received last year and the
4.8 million calls nationally, Samaritans have to recruit new volunteers
to cope with society's needs.
The local branch has a paid employee called Martin, this has been possible
through the Barclays Community Placement Scheme, which is used to help
charitable organisations utilise the skills that would otherwise be lost,
after redundancy by larger organizations.
Martin appears to be heavily involved in many aspects of the service; he
has taken on the difficult task of persuading members of the community to
give up their time to volunteer as a listener.
This could mean a commitment of at least three to four hours each week and night work.
What kinds of people volunteer to listen to those facing emotional distress?
Over the years Samaritans have had something of an image problem and enduring
myths attached to their organisation.
It is thought by many to be staffed by retired or semi retired persons with
a little bit of time on their hands, in short, the twin-set and pearls brigade.
This misnomer couldn't be further from the truth.
The local branch has a diverse volunteer group with ages ranging from 24 to 85 years.
So we stumble out of the horror of Christmas into the New Year, bleary-eyed and confused, with
the nagging feeling we've missed something.
I was working all through Christmas and New Year. Even though I spent New Year's Eve working,
Articles, Paranormal - The Beast In The Basement By Graham Lee
Every so often a paranormal investigation can uncover spirit beings which are not of human
origin. As well as humans who have passed over, there are Angels, animal spirits,
faeries, elementals, nature spirits and a whole host of inter-dimensional
Articles - True Stories - The Puzzle Nightmare By DJ Chris Plant
One day when I was home alone, there was a knock at the front door.
It was the postman with a parcel for me. I tore open the package and inside there was a black box.
Inside the box there were some puzzle pieces. I didn't think
Articles, Paranormal - Young Master Willem By Graham Lee
Of course it's not all monks, white ladies and monsters.
Often times I find myself face to face with the spirits of children, the
most memorable of which has so far been Young Master Willem.
I ran into this cheeky little boy in a watermill
Articles, Paranormal - Lynched A Ghost By Graham Lee Photos By Ellen, Graham, Bev and Kaye.
As part of my regular work I am involved in ghost hunts with a group called UK Haunted
where we invite members of the public to join our all-night vigils in haunted locations.
The latest of these events was held in a derelict manor house,
Articles - Pain is a Simple Word By Mr Pain in the Butt
Like many words Pain has just four letters. It is short and easily just rolls off of the lips.
Pain; Used to describe things ranging from a stubbed toe to a woman giving birth to her first born child - Pain! What a simple everyday word!
To me Pain is all
Articles - Norman At Ninety By DJ Chris Plant
As Sir Norman Wisdom approaches 90 years old.
I pay tribute to the fine actor as I watch his films.
My favourite Norman Wisdom film has to be On the Beat (1962).
In On The Beat, Norman wants to be a policeman like his father was,
Articles - Endless Guitar Solos and the Real Reasons for Opposing Fox Hunting. By Mark Pollard
I love progressive rock. Always have done. There; I've said it.
You can stick your three-and-a-half minute blasts of pop music where the sun don't shine.
If it sounds great, let it drag on for half an hour is what I say.
Why play one note when
Articles - The Night Time Visitor By Graham Lee
During the first few weeks of my professional work in mediumship I was not one hundred
percent convinced that I was actually contacting spirit.
I had come to mediumship with a large dose of scepticism which often meant I would be
the first to offer
Articles - Haunted Hull? By Ellen
My name is Ellen. I was born and raised in Hull. I was just reading the article about haunted hotels and I thought I'd write about some of my husband's and my experiences.
My husband, Graham Lee is a psychic medium working in Hull and Yorkshire
Articles - ADWARE: A Malicious and Highly Invasive Plague By Blair Ashworth
There is a disturbing rise in the appearance of virus-like programs that hijack your web browser - changing your default start page and forcing you to visit certain web sites, thus inflating a site's traffic count in an attempt to increase advertising revenues.