Nestled away in the back streets of South Ealing is the HQ of Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Samaritans. 130 volunteers run the branch office. Dr Rupa Huq, Labour’s candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, went to meet some of them on January 30th.
The branch has been offering the people of three boroughs across West London free, confidential support since 1972. Volunteers staff a helpline and drop-in centre, they also respond to emails, run outreach projects and offer support in prisons.
Their director, Mike Mortimer, said: “Whatever you have done, and whatever life has done to you, we are here for you – no pressure, no judgement, in confidence, and irrespective of status, age, culture, religion, wealth or gender.”
Rupa said: “I found my visit eye-opening. Mike and Jan, the chair, told me that the need to raise awareness is so great that they sometimes distribute flyers at Ealing Broadway station, which has sadly become a suicide point in recent years”.
“The selfless volunteers go through a rigorous training programme. The around-the-clock nature of the service means new volunteers are always welcome and there is even a pull-out bed upstairs for those doing a long shift”.
Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Samaritans are at 26 Junction Road W5 4XL are always looking for new volunteers. They can be reached at 020 8 560 2345 or 08457 909090.