The Listening Walk
26 March 2019
One man’s 6000 mile journey visiting all 201 branches of the Samaritans. 1000 Mile gives much needed support to epic 6000 miles quest.
1000 Mile are supporting Samaritan volunteer David Matthews by providing our socks to help him on his way as he embarks on the Listening Walk - his quest to walk to and take part in the work of every Samaritans Branch in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland en route. In the course of the walk, which will take approximately two years, he will walk 6,000 miles, visit and do a shift at all the physical 199 branches of the Samaritans and join the Samaritans Festival Branch at one of the festivals that they attend.
David, whose home is actually on the Knoydart peninsula in Scotland, is undertaking this trek to raise awareness of the work of the Samaritans who provide a 24/7 listening service by phone, text and email, by letter and by attending major festivals to anybody in need of emotional support. He is also aiming to raise £100,000 by sponsorship to support the work of Samaritans and to recruit 1,000 new Samaritan Volunteers.
When asked why he is undertaking this challenge David said
“I’ve been inspired to undertake the walk about five or six years ago by a Samaritan who travelled around on his motorbike with huge panniers and high-vis clothing. He was going around to the different branches and all he was doing was raising awareness. I thought that was a really good thing and so it got me thinking that I could do something like that. I then thought that I might do similar on a bike but not being a huge cyclist I then pondered how I might do it and which branches I might visit. So I began to look on Google Maps at the branches and realised that there was almost a natural route between the branches that would lead neatly onto the next one with no need to double back for instance. A route which I could walk.I then thought that I could start and finish in Doncaster and reckoned it would take about two years to go to every branch. For a few years I have thought maybe this year, maybe this year. Then this last year I thought, if I am ever going to do it, I need to do it soon as I’m not getting any younger and I have a bit more time now. There is also the issue of mental health problems and increasing suicides. I felt compelled to do it sooner rather than later.”
The schedule for the walk can be found at the walk website www.thelisteningwalk.co.uk where details of how to donate either to the Samaritans or to the estimated £35,000 that the walk will cost can also be found.
This walk is being supported by a team of Volunteers “The Friends of the Listening Walk” and a number of businesses who, like ourselves are providing product, and individuals who have donated money towards the costs of mounting the undertaking.
Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, everyday of the year by phone on 116123 (calls are free) and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org