Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 14:30 UK

Samaritans wants volunteers to help at Reading Prison

The Samaritans in Reading in Berkshire is trying to recruit more volunteers in order to expand the charity's work.

Volunteers already work with prisoners in Reading Prison, providing emotional support and training the inmates to act as "listeners" for others.

They now want to extend this work to offer support to prisoners' friends and families during visits.

A spokesman said that by going out and talking to them "face to face" they would "reach more people in distress".

'In confidence'

Bernard Tomlin, Reading branch director, said: "People know we are there on the end of the phone 24 hours every day of the year.

"But these new schemes mean we can start talking to those in need who may not have thought of calling us, or might find it difficult to pick up the phone.

"Just talking about their problems in confidence is a great way to relieve their stress and start to find ways of coping with their situations.

"But we need more volunteers to help us with all these activities, and to make sure our phones are answered as well."

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