Renovating our Branch

by Norwich Samaritans

Renovating our Branch by Norwich Samaritans cover photo

£621,959.87

raised by 47 donations

of £750,000.00 Target Goal

83%

The Story

Our background: Norwich Samaritans has been at the heart of Norwich for almost 60 years. We opened in 1964 and since then have worked every day to support those in distress or at risk of suicide. Much of this support is given through our confidential helpline, which is available for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our volunteers also respond to emails and online chat, as well as supporting those in need face-to-face at the branch. Our work does not stop there. While it is true that we talk to those who are thinking about or are in the process of taking their own lives, thankfully they are a small proportion of the total contacts that we have. We are here for anybody in distress or crisis and we believe we have an important role to play in the local community. Our Outreach team volunteers visit schools, universities, care homes, NHS and military establishments raising awareness of the need for good mental health and wellbeing. Every year, our 200 volunteers give more than 25,000 hours in support. We know our service is needed - in 2019 we responded to 38,000 contacts from our callers and this number has been steadily increasing each year. Our branch is, in normal times, well-used by our local callers - we consistently have among the highest numbers of face-to-face visits out of any Samaritans branches around the country, averaging around 500 visitors per year. The pandemic: As the coronavirus pandemic began, we, alongside many other charities, were badly affected. We were forced to close both our charity shops and curtail branch activity briefly. During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 our volunteers provided a valuable service to those isolated from family, friends and the workplace. The branch was forced to reduce capacity to allow social distancing for volunteers. Face-to-face visits and our outreach programme were also halted and this limited the number of people we could support inside and outside the Norwich branch. While the pandemic was a challenge, we believe it enabled us to look to the future and prepare our branch for the new normal. Our project: The pandemic highlighted that our city centre branch is no longer fit for purpose. Its downstairs floor needs digging up and relaying, as there are damp problems. The roof has structural issues and the building does not have adequate light or ventilation. Discussions over what to do with the site, which we own, have been ongoing for over a decade. In that time, we have been sticking plasters over problems, temporarily fixing issues as we go. However, we know this is costly and does not resolve underlying issues. We have concluded that this is the right place for our branch to stay for the long-term and have come up with a plan to redevelop the building to ensure our branch viability for years to come. We are aiming to achieve all of this by our 60th anniversary on April 1, 2024 and hope to continue providing support for another 60 years. To ensure the future of our branch and expand our services in our post-pandemic recovery, we must revamp the branch and make it fit for purpose. We anticipate that this work will enable us to increase the number of people that we are supporting by up to 50% and the total cost of the project will be £750,000.

Norwich Samaritans

For over half a century the Norwich Samaritans has been providing emotional support to callers both locally as well as across Britain. The physical branch now has a number of faults and is no longer fit for purpose going forward. The branch is proposing an ambitious project to transform the building to enable the service to be provided for many years to come. We are seeking support from the wider community to fund the project outlined below.

Renovating our Branch: Photos

Renovating our Branch by Norwich Samaritans fundraising photo 1
Renovating our Branch by Norwich Samaritans fundraising photo 2
Renovating our Branch by Norwich Samaritans fundraising photo 3
Renovating our Branch by Norwich Samaritans fundraising photo 4

Renovating our Branch: Latest Donations