BBC presenter opens new Suffolk Samaritans centre
PUBLISHED: 18:15 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 20:56 29 October 2019
Bill Turnbull bagged the opening role at the reveal of the "modernised" Samaritans of Ipswich and East Suffolk centre.
The former BBC presenter officially opened the refurbished premises by unveiling a plaque in the new operations room.
Mr Turnbull told guests at the opening: "I am delighted to be with you to open this refurbished branch.
"I can only praise the work that the Samaritans do in supporting so many people."
There were also short speeches given by David Sheepshanks, the President of Samaritans, and Judy Wright, the director of the branch.
The building in St Helen's Street was bought by the Samaritans in 1994 following a huge fundraising campaign to buy the former public house.
However, in the 25 years that have followed the usage of the building had become very "tired" from the daily wear and tear.
It was decided that the operations room, handover areas and training facilities were in need of refurbishment to deal with the demands of the service.
A spokesman for the Samaritans said: "It was decided that a major refurbishment was required and after another fundraising campaign, the branch has been able to completely modernise the centre making it fit for purpose and for the number of people who volunteer there.
"Volunteers are delighted with the results and it is hoped that it will improve recruitment and retention of volunteers to provide emotional support to the ever increasing number of callers."
More recently, people have been using the Samaritans' SMS service to interact.
The Samaritans is a charity which aims to reduce the number of deaths in the UK by providing a range of services to people in crisis.
Every year, helpers answer more than five million calls for help via a 24-hour listening service.
The charity wants to encourage, promote and celebrate those moments of connection between people that can protect and even save lives. They do this by working in schools, prisons, workplaces and communities, and in partnership with organisations like Network Rail.
Staff stand by five core values listening, confidentiality, non-judgemental attitudes, people making their own decisions and human contact.