A BARNSLEY town centre charity is experiencing a higher number of calls as the charity says its services are ‘needed now more than ever’.

Volunteers at Barnsley Samaritans, located on Pitt Street, have taken on additional hours to cope with demand as more people have been reaching out for help during the lockdown period.

Grant Fieldsend, at Barnsley Samaritans, said the community backing the charity has received has helped it continue to provide care to callers.

“With everyone stuck in isolation, people need us now more than ever,” he told the Chronicle.

“Some people just want a listening ear during a difficult situation for everyone.

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“People are going to be stuck inside and be in potentially harmful situations, so we need to make sure that they know where we are and how we can help.

“We’re getting more calls discussing concerns about being in isolation and their mental wellbeing, so it’s important that we get our number out around Barnsley - it’s an unprecedented time.

“There’s still that stigma of people thinking ‘I’m not that bad yet, I don’t need to call’ but we are here no matter how big or how small the problem.”

The charity has been reaching out to other organisations and key workers to help them with their campaign.

“Our main aim now is to make sure that everyone knows about us and get into people’s houses.

“Amazingly, three local foodbanks and some supermarkets have been providing people with our leaflets when distributing food parcels or delivering shopping.

“The council’s assisted me with placing Samaritan signs around popular walking sites across the borough, and also asked for about 5,000 leaflets to distribute across the different wards which has just been absolutely amazing.

“Members of the community have really come together to support us at a time when everything is so uncertain.”

Although the charity has been put under pressure with additional calls, Grant believes that Samaritans is extremely important at a time when people are at home.

“I think it’s important to know that our top priority is to be a support to the Barnsley people.

“If you’re lonely, scared or just fancy a chat during isolation, Samaritans is here to listen to you.”

To talk with Samaritans, call 116123.