I was very impressed by the branch’s continued commitment to its core services alongside the valuable new outreach programme it is developing. This impressive new work includes the provision of support for the three prisons at Woolwich, as well as working with Network Rail and local stations, homeless shelters and community facilities. Its work with young people in schools and at Goldsmiths is particularly important given the enormous pressures placed upon them through bullying, trolling and other difficulties they face within their social environments.
I was amazed to hear that the branch now has more than 100 active volunteers who are committing at least 5 hours a week each to listening to and supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Equally impressive is the way in which Samaritans are using new technologies to expand their traditional telephone listening service to include emails and text messaging. Charities need to grow and develop what they do to remain relevant to the changing society they support and I congratulate the Samaritans on the way in which they are dealing with this challenge.