Recruitment campaigns have been launched separately by three Lanark charities.
Two of them, Oxfam and Covey, are well established in the town but have both recently run into problems finding enough volunteers to keep their services going.
A third, Esteem, is in the process of forming a team to try to talk local folk contemplating suicide out of harming themselves.
To launch its appeal for volunteers to give a few hours of their time a week to befriend young people going through troubled periods in their lives, Covey is holding a coffee morning and information session in Lanark’s Tolbooth on Saturday, November 12, between 10am and noon.
Its local office is based in South Lanarkshire Council’s Clydesdale headquarters in Lanark’s South Vennel, the council also being one of its main funders.
A spokeswoman said that covering a large rural area brought special challenges for Covey.
“Obviously, with so many small and scattered communities, even for a volunteer to travel to the young person befriended takes time,” she said.
“The petrol is no problem – we cover all such expenses – but finding enough people living in or near these small communities is.”
She added that those coming forward to be befrienders don’t need any special qualifications to help the children and young people aged seven to 17 referred to the charity.
“We are just looking for ordinary folk who want to help these young people, who often feel isolated and friendless,” she said.
“Volunteers could be people from troubled childhoods themselves or, at the opposite end of the scale, people who had perfectly good starts in life and now want to give something back.”
She said that all volunteers are vetted for suitability for Covey’s work. Once past that, they are given full training before being matched up with the youngster Covey thinks they might be most compatible with.
Time spent with the young person befriended can be one-to-one visits or in group sessions.
Anyone who can’t make it to the November 12 coffee morning can call Covey at 01698 894013 for more details.
Also on the lookout for willing hands is another charity very familiar to Clydesdale, Lanark’s Oxfam shop.
Its manager, Bonnie Murphy, says there is currently a desperate need for volunteers to, again, give just a few hours of their time a week to maintain its record of raising money for emergencies and aid projects around the world.
Anyone considering joining the shop team can call in at its newly-refurbished Bannatyne Street premises or phone Bonnie on 01555 662937.
In the meantime, Esteem Clydesdale has created a base in Lanark’s Greenside Lane and is looking for support in its work helping those contemplating suicide and removing the stigma of mental illness.
More details on its work will be provided in a forthcoming edition of the Gazette.