Charity launches appeal to continue helping vulnerable people through pandemic
- Credit: Chris O'Donovan
Charity Samaritans is ‘urgently appealing for donations’ to support people ‘struggling to cope’ in the district.
The service, which provides support to people in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide across the UK, is calling for the public’s support in the area.
The branch, in Weston High Street, has closed, forcing its face-to-face support services to stop, as well as shutting its shop, next to the centre, due to Government guidelines to only keep open stores providing essential goods across the country.
The charity needs around £30,000 to run its services this year in North Somerset, which supports people living in areas including Weston, Blagdon, Burnham, Clevedon, Portishead and Wedmore.
Branch director, Andy, said: “For more than 40 years our branch has provided a listening ear to anyone who needs support, which has been made possible through the public’s kind donations.
“Now, more than ever, we need the public’s continued support. Due to the cancellation of our planned fundraising events and the closure of our shop, we are facing a significant loss of funding, so we are calling on North Somerset residents to help us ensure that we can continue to provide our vital service.”
The Samaritans branch had a ‘good fundraising year’ in 2019 and has reserves to tackle the financial challenge coronavirus has posed.
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However, due to the shop’s closure and the cancellation of fundraising events, the branch has been forced to reach out as it looks at its long-term future.
Andy added: “Our volunteers are showing huge commitment to keeping the service going, doing many extra shifts to cover for colleagues who are self-isolating despite the risks involved. They need the community’s support.”
Around 26 volunteers are picking up shifts usually covered by more than 50 volunteers at the charity’s branch in Weston.
Last year, volunteers at the centre answered more than 14,000 phone calls, 1,000 emails and 900 text messages from people experiencing emotional distress.
For more information about the telephone and email service and to donate money, visit www.samaritans.org/branches/weston-super-mare