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Norwich Samaritans' £10,000 boost for more vital volunteers - could you be one?

PUBLISHED: 11:37 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:01 12 February 2019

Emma Gale, a Samaritans volunteer. Photo: Chris O'Donovan

Emma Gale, a Samaritans volunteer. Photo: Chris O'Donovan

CHRIS O'DONOVAN

A lifeline Norwich charity has been granted almost £10,000 to help it bolster its volunteer numbers.

The Norwich Samaritans centre. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Norwich Samaritans centre. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich Samaritans has been given £9,906 by the National Lottery Community Fund in its National Lottery Awards Scheme, which offers grants between £300 and £10,000.

It will enable the charity, one of three branches in Norfolk, to train 50 new listening volunteers to support callers in need.

The funds work out as roughly an eighth of the centre’s annual running costs. It costs £243 to train each volunteer - a figure which covers costs including volunteer and trainer expenses, administration, materials and photocopying - and takes several weeks.

Bob Kuczma, director of the branch, said: “The generous grant from the Big Lottery will allow the Norwich Samaritans to recruit and train many new volunteers.

“It will directly benefit our callers by making sure that we can respond with more volunteers when they are needed most. “

Despite being part of a national network of Samaritan branches, the Norwich charity is a separate entity, making it dependent on income from its two shops - on Aylsham Road and Westlegate - and donations.

With demand for its service remaining high, the charity said the funding would enable it to provide more hours of cover in times when the most calls are made and increase its existing services, such as training and talks in schools.

The branch, at St Stephens Square in the city centre, has 160 volunteers who cover 13 shifts a day, every day of the year, working out at more than 20,000 hours spent supporting callers.

But they are always in need of extra help - and on Saturday, February 16 will hold an information event to tell potential volunteers about life as a Samaritan.

Those interested can ask existing Samaritans for their experiences of volunteering and how it might best fit around their life.

It will run from 2pm to 4pm and while those interested don’t need to book a place, they can register their interest by emailing recruitment@norwichsams.org.uk

For more on Norwich Samaritans, click here.

Do you have a Norwich story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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