Samaritans across Fife have held their very first ‘Thanking Day’ to pay tribute to all those who continue to support the charity’s work in ever challenging circumstances.
Volunteers with the Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy branches of the Samaritans said marking February 3 as ‘Thanking Day’ would show their gratitude to all those who have helped them continue to deliver their services across Fife.
While the cost of providing such a vital lifeline throughout the region has not fallen, all outreach events and fund-raising activities have had to be cancelled over the past year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
And that’s at a time when people’s mental health is very much to the fore and the effect lockdown has had on them cannot be underestimated.
June Race, director of Kirkcaldy Samaritans, said: “Like most branches across the organisation our branch is run entirely by unpaid volunteers.
“We rely on fundraising, donations and grants to help keep the lights on and the phone lines open.
“Given the confidential service we provide, it’s not possible for volunteers to do this from home.
“In order that we can ensure the appropriate government guidelines are met during the pandemic and that volunteers on shift feel as safe and protected as possible, we have had to invest in protective screening, as well as the ongoing costs of ensuring there is a sufficient supply of anti-bacterial cleaning materials available.”
Linda Miller, director of Dunfermline Samaritans, added: “Samaritan volunteers, our vision is that fewer people die by suicide and to be there for anyone in emotional distress.
“However, that vision, as with most things in life, does come with a financial cost attached.
“For example, £5 is needed to fund the cost of one call and £200 to train a new volunteer.
“The benefits of these costs however cannot be quantified – one call can be a conversation that saves a life and a trained volunteer is equipped with the skills to have that conversation.
“It’s also these same skills that we as volunteers take with us wherever we go.”
Despite that, Mrs Miller said the charity has been “overwhelmed” with the generosity shown by individuals and businesses since the start of the pandemic and believes the ‘Thanking Day’ initiative is a way of showing that appreciation.”