THE Isle of Wight branch of Samaritans is calling on people on the Isle of Wight to make a difference.
The branch is taking a new approach to recruiting volunteers from the community to ensure they can continue to offer their valuable service throughout the night.
If successful, the scheme will be rolled out nationwide.
The charity is piloting a scheme targeting people whose lifestyles mean they are more likely to be able to give time to support callers through the night on weekdays.
South region marketing officer for Samaritans Fran Holdsworth said: "Samaritans provides support to people who are struggling to cope, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Until now we have asked all our volunteers to share in the night shifts but those with work or family commitments find these shifts hard to cover. We are now looking for people who are at a point in their life when they could volunteer specifically for these duties."
These include people who have recently retired or students who are happy talking to people through the night and could spare a few hours between 2am and 8am every other week.
On the Island, volunteers schedule their own shifts. Most of them do a three-and-a-half-hour shift once a week, including a night shift every fifth week, but there is a new option of carrying out one night shift a fortnight instead of doing day shifts every week, which might suit the active and early retired, as well as students.
Across the UK and Ireland there are 20,665 Samaritans volunteers, of whom 50 volunteer at the centre in Newport.
Fran said: "Keeping our centres open through the night is particularly important, because those are the times when many people need someone to talk to.
"Their concerns and worries come to the fore, their friends and family are in bed and there is nowhere else to turn.
"Samaritans are available to listen, over the phone, face to face and by e-mail, 24 hours a day, every day of the year."
People can listen to a podcast of volunteers talking about their experiences at tinyurl.com/watsv while for more information call 08705 62 72 82, or visit www.samaritans.org
• Anyone who wishes to talk in confidence to Samaritans can call 08457 90 90 90 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org