It’s great to be able to kick start 2020 with an additional donation to Samaritans. While we have an ongoing partnership with this fantastic and important charity, we have just reached the end of a .UK Domain campaign to raise some additional funds, with the support of our registrars.
From 9 December to 17 January, we pledged to donate £1 for every new domain name ending in .uk registered. Despite it being the Christmas period, we saw over 150,000 .UK domains registered, which translates into a donation of over £150,000 to the charity. These funds will go towards the new digital tools the charity is creating (including a new online chat service, launching soon), helping them reach more people via digital channels.
We have previously spoken to Samaritans’ Assistant Director of Digital Services and Change, Francis Bacon, to find out more about the organisation’s digital transformation. Today, though, I’d like to put the spotlight on one of the amazing and dedicated people serving as the lifeblood of Samaritans; a volunteer.
Let me introduce Rae Workman, a full-time sales and marketing executive who has been volunteering with Samaritans for four years. Her late auntie had also been a Samaritans volunteer, prompting Rae to consider it herself. Each week Rae travels to her Samaritans branch in Oxford at the end of her working day to listen and give people the space to share how they’re really feeling.
Rae was initially cautious about signing up to volunteer with the time constraints of a busy working life. “I did have some reservations about it,” she explains, “both in terms of the emotional demand of the role and also fitting in shifts while working during the week and seeing friends and family at the weekend. However, the training Samaritans provides is amazing and fully prepares you, plus there are on-going mentoring and training schemes, not to mention an in-house team to support the volunteers.”
“Samaritans is also flexible,” she adds, “so I’ve been able to take breaks when my life gets too busy to fit in my weekly call time.” It has, in short, been far more manageable than she expected, and has provided the ‘something’ she had felt was missing in her life:
“I used to spend most evenings at the gym, but I realised that I needed an activity in my week that felt worthwhile – and it really has been,” she says. “I feel very lucky to be a volunteer. Although it can be an emotionally demanding and challenging role at times, I feel proud to support our callers, through listening and providing a safe space where they can explore their feelings, thoughts and emotions when life is hard for them.”
Rae’s enthusiasm for and dedication to her volunteering work is incredible, and she has great advice for anyone considering following in her footsteps: “Start by attending an information evening to find out more and to gain an insight into what volunteering is like and what will be required of you. Volunteering with Samaritans isn’t for everyone – and that’s fine, there’s plenty of other brilliant organisations out there – but if you are able to volunteer with Samaritans, I hope you find it as rewarding as I do!”
She is just one of over 20,000 people who makes sure that Samaritans is there, day or night, 365 days a year, offering non-judgemental emotional support for everyone, whatever they are going through. While we at Nominet may not be answering phones alongside Rae, we are proud to be able to support Samaritans financially, through planned investment as well as fundraising, as they move into a new digital era for the charity. This additional £150,000 was only possible with the support of our registrars and all those customers who registered a .UK domain during the period, so we extend our thanks to all of you for getting behind such an important cause.
There are lots of ways to volunteer for Samaritans. Anyone who is over 18, wants to help others, and is tolerant and open-minded is welcome. Find out more about becoming a Samaritans volunteer here.