Meg Baldwin, director of the Bath Samaritans, talks about how the charity is struggling in the midst of a pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, Bath Charity – Bath & District Samaritans are seriously struggling to carry out their services, support work and gain support. They would usually offer face-to-face support, visit RUH every Monday evening to offer support to those in A&E and visit schools, colleges and universities. Bath Samaritans also used to do ‘Brew Mondays’ where they would take teabags to the railway stations and offer cups of tea to passers-by.
The charity is made up entirely of volunteers: the core support samaritans who tackle the infrastructure of the charity, such as IT support and the treasury department, and the listening samaritans who are the ones giving support to those who need it. They are currently looking for volunteers to handle marketing and their Twitter account.
Bath Samaritans has recently seen a rise in people needing support due to the pandemic and the type of support needed has shifted. Many people are seeking help for anxiety, isolation and their worries surrounding COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, however, the only in-person service they can now offer is visiting Leyhill Prison in South Gloucestershire and the women’s prison in Bristol to give support to the prisoners.
Their listening service is currently being provided over the phone or through emails and they hope to have an online chat option available soon to give younger people, who may not feel as comfortable speaking on the phone, a chance to get the support they need. The charity is also currently partnering with the University of Bath to support their Nightline team who give overnight support to students over the phone and by email.
Listen to Meg Baldwin, director of the Bath Samaritans, talk more below.
Words by Lauren Forester