Bournemouth Samaritans

Community Hero in the Spotlight, April 2023

Bournemouth Samaritans are here to listen and support, 365 days a year.

April is Stress Awareness Month and we’ve chosen Bournemouth Samaritans to be our Community Heroes in the Spotlight because one topic they are frequently called about is stress caused by everyday life.

Charlie (not real name), a Bournemouth Samaritan, describes a normal shift: “Always working in pairs, my shift partner and myself enter the Ops Room and when we check we have everything we need, we sign on to the system.

“Inevitably, the phone will ring immediately. As always, I wait for the 3rd ring to compose myself, and then pick up the phone. “Samaritans, can I help you?”. Those opening words can be so reassuring to my Caller. A calm, welcoming invitation is the first stage in supporting anyone who calls. Then the Caller can outline the reason for their call.

“Regardless of the reason, I immediately demonstrate the most important skill of helping a stressed Caller, I am listening to them. Every Caller is different, but by allowing them to talk to somebody they do not know, somebody who will not judge them, can immediately be a relief for some.”

Charlie and other Samaritans often find that stress of the Callers may be due to loneliness, being unhappy at work, experiencing physical health issues, financial difficulties and family issues.  From the answers given Samaritans are able to signpost the Caller to more specific forms of help and support, such as to other local charities and not for profit organisations.

Before ending a call the Samaritans give assurance that the person can call again, checks they are happy with what has been suggested and also, where appropriate, offer a follow up call in the next day or so. This means the support can be ongoing for the Caller and isn’t just a one off.

  • Call Bournemouth Samaritans for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123

Bournemouth Samaritans offer more than their telephone support. Outreach workers visit schools, colleges, universities and places of work to give talks on managing emotional health. They also visit railway stations to check people waiting on the platforms are OK and spend time in Police Custody Suites to support those in a very stressful situation. Their wonderful support dog Siri (pictured above) is usually with them.

Samaritans are also on hand when Hope For Food feed people experiencing homelessness. As well as a warm meal and company, folk can talk to someone who will really listen and may be able to give them practical advice about where to get more help.

  • To find out more email

Hannah Rees, Engagement Lead for Community Action Network, says “We are so grateful for all that Bournemouth Samaritans offer to local people. Their skilled listening and knowledge of how to encourage people to talk about their problems, as well as offering support from other local charities, makes them an absolute asset to our communities.”


Listen here to Charlie from Bournemouth Samaritans and Marina from CAN speaking on HOPE FM.