Charity to mark 50 years in Leeds

Leeds Samaritans' volunteers in Millennium Square earlier this year.
Leeds Samaritans' volunteers in Millennium Square earlier this year.
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Volunteers and supporters of Leeds Samaritans are preparing to celebrate 50 years of listening in the city.

On November 7, the branch will have been offering confidential emotional support to the people of Leeds and beyond for half a century.

During that period almost 3,000 volunteers have been trained by the branch and have dedicated themselves largely to a 24 hour, 365 day-a-year service. Since its doors opened in 1966, more than 1.4 million contacts have been made with the branch by telephone, email, SMS and face-to-face.

Leeds Samaritans volunteer, Bob Howe, said: “Fifty years is a big milestone for us; but the challenge is essentially to heighten the profile of what Samaritans is about, what we do, and to raise awareness of the fact that we are simply there for everyone.

“In the context of Samaritans as a whole, the number of calls we receive in Leeds may be small compared to the 5.3 million calls taken every year nationally by our organisation; but every call is important; each one is an individual who is reaching out at a time when they most need to, and our aim is to continue to be there for anyone who feels the need to call us at that point in their life.”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Gerry Harper will unveil a plaque at the Leeds branch to mark the milestone on its birthday.

Samaritans relies almost entirely on donations to run its 201 branches and train its dedicated volunteers.

To support the charity or to find out more about becoming a volunteer visit www.samaritans.org/branches/samaritans-leeds. To contact Samaritans call 116 123 or 0113 2456789, email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org.

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