On June 1, 1959, the first call was answered by a volunteer at the Samaritans’ new branch in Edinburgh. In the intervening 60 years, a further 18 branches have opened the length and breadth of the country. While it now has around 1000 volunteers across Scotland, the charity’s mission has remained the same for six decades.James Jopling, executive director in Scotland, believes that will still be the case 60 years from now.He explained: “All of us in our darkest moments can benefit from someone being there to talk to.“That is as true now as it was in 1959 and will be just as true in 60 years. “Our volunteers are not going to judge; they are there to listen and help people talk about their problems.“There have been many changes over the years. When Samaritans first started, for example, homosexuality was illegal.“But people still face the same challenges they did when that first call came in.“When there is no-one else to talk to, we’re there. That’s what is at the heart of the Samaritans – the power of human connection.”Founded on the principle that trained volunteers should answer calls, that has not changed either.And it’s something that strikes very many… Read full this story
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