A RECRUITMENT drive to train up more Samaritans volunteers is to be launched, as the charity works to expand its reach.

The Northallerton and Dales branch of Samaritans, which provides support to people in distress, is looking for more volunteers.

The organisation is experiencing an increasing demand for its service and is also in need of more recruits to help it work with young people, as it branches out into schools and colleges.

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It will be holding a volunteer information morning on Saturday, February 1, at 10.30am at its offices on 7 Crosby Road, Northallerton.

Publicity office for the Northallerton and Dales branch, Marianne Hill, said they needed people to help with a range of roles, from telephone counselling to more administrative work and other roles. She said they were particularly keen to attract more people, as this year marked a significant milestone for the branch, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Mrs Hill said: “We want to have more of a presence in schools but we need more volunteers to do that. We already have a schools programme, but we want to expand that and get in touch with more young people, schools and colleges. It’s to let them know about the Samaritans - the fact that the service is available and confidential.

“We do emphasis that our service is confidential. We want people to feel safe when they talk to us.”

The information morning will provide people with an opportunity to ask questions and those wanting to volunteer will then be put through a selection process and given full training.

Mrs Hill said: “People don’t need specific qualifications to be a Samaritans volunteer – our selection process will always highlight if somebody isn’t suitable – and the training they get is very in-depth and thorough.

“One of the main things a volunteer needs is a natural empathy and a desire to help other people who may be feeling at the end of their tether.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should email; northalletonsamaritans@talktalk.net or telephone; 01609-776161.

The Samaritans' 24-hour helpline for people experiencing crisis can be called on 08457-909090.