Weston charity’s headquarters gets an upgrade

Volunteers outside the Weston Samaritans branch in High Street. They are opening a shop on the corne

Volunteers outside the Weston Samaritans branch in High Street. They are opening a shop on the corner of High Street and Grove Road. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A new shop and an upgraded headquarters represents a ‘massive step forward’ for one Weston charity.

The Weston and North Somerset branch of the Samaritans is looking forward to an exciting future after revealing news of major changes to its High Street office and a new shop.

The upgrades will mean the charity, which offers around-the-clock emotional support for people in distress or despair, will have a much greater public presence.

The development will also allow the charity to have full disabled access for volunteers and members of the public to its building opposite Grove Park, which it has occupied since 1984.

The charity has previously occupied the first and second floors of the building but has acquired the ground floor of the premises – which was previously used as a takeaway business.

The move will allow the charity to make major internal improvements to the building, create disabled access and improve working conditions for the volunteers.

The shop, which will offer books, retro and vintage items, vinyl, haberdashery and bric-a-brac, will raise funds to secure the future of the branch.

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Director Joe, who like other volunteers uses his first name only when working with the charity, said: “This is a massive step forward for us.

“For many years we have been aiming for disabled access and now this will be possible.

“It means our doors will be fully open for people with mobility issues – be they volunteers or members of the public seeking face to face contact.

“We have a valuable corner position on the High Street and it will make us much more visible to the public, allowing us to promote our services to those local people struggling to cope.”

In the past 12 months, the branch has answered 15,300 phone calls, 1,000 emails and more than 600 texts.

Work on the building started earlier this month and is expected to last around eight weeks.

The Samaritans – which has been in the town for more than 45 years – is looking for a part-time manager to run the shop and team of volunteer retail assistants.

Information on the manager’s role is available on 07938 058973 or at samaritansrecruitmentwsm@yahoo.com