THE Samaritans are desperate -- for Leigh area volunteers.

The caring group is launching a national recruitment drive on Monday and is especially seeking new listeners for the Manchester and Salford branch.

The Oxford Street chapter is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and volunteers listen on the telephone to people in distress, or meet face to face with others who walk into the office.

They also receive and respond to e-mails and visit schools, universities and give support in prisons.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and are people who can listen without prejudice.

For more information on how to become a Samaritan, call 0161 236 8000, or 08705 627282.