Readers donate £40,000 towards charity's branch rebuild

Norwich Samaritans has launched a £750,000 fundraiser

Norwich Samaritans has launched a £750,000 fundraiser to rebuild its branch. Inset, an architect illustration of how it may look. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Brown & Co

Generous readers have donated more than £40,000 to a Christmas appeal by a lifeline charity hoping to rebuild its branch.

In December, Norwich Samaritans revealed its plans to begin a £750,000 rebuild of its St Stephens Square home.

The charity was founded in 1964 and has been supporting people in distress or at risk of suicide ever since.

It is staffed by an army of roughly 200 volunteers, who answer calls on its helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as responding to letters, instant messages and emails from around the country. In 2019 alone, volunteers responded to almost 40,000 requests for help.

With its building falling into disrepair, it is now seeking planning permission and has launched a fundraiser to rebuild and modernise its base in time for its 60th anniversary in 2024.

And since we publicised the appeal, generous EDP readers have donated more than £40,000 towards the cause.

James Ellis, director of the branch, said: "We've been blown away by the support we've had from the community since launching our appeal.

"Our thanks go to EDP readers and all those who have supported our work and donated to our campaign. We will continue to fundraise and make the project a reality to ensure we are able to support as many people in need as possible."

James Ellis, director of Norwich Samaritans.

James Ellis, director of Norwich Samaritans. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

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The branch will continue to fundraise to reach its goal.

Each year, Norwich Samaritans volunteers provide more than 250,000 hours of support to the branch and its two shops. In 2019, they responded to more than 38,000 contacts from callers, a number which has been steadily increasing.

Confidentiality is key, with callers able to talk anonymously.

The Norwich branch sees a high number of face-to-face visitors, too - roughly 500 per year before the pandemic.

An application for planning permission for the changes has been lodged with Norwich City Council, and planning papers published online say: "The alterations seek to improve the efficiency of the building, both in terms of the way in which the space is utilised and energy."

If you are interested in donating, please visit kindlink.com/fundraising/Norwich-Samaritans/renovate-our-branch

How the new Norwich Samaritans branch could look.

How the new branch could look. - Credit: Brown & Co

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