Samaritans calls on volunteers for help

A CHARITY bookstore is searching for people to fill a big pair of shoes as one of the shop's longest serving volunteers takes retirement.

Tom Potter

A CHARITY bookstore is searching for people to fill a big pair of shoes as one of the shop's longest serving volunteers takes retirement.

Valerie Boylett has been at Samaritans Bookcase in Eagle Street, Ipswich, for more than 14 years. She was there when it opened and has been instrumental in acquiring the 12,000 books its shelves boast.

Joanna Bell, director of Ipswich Samaritans, said: “Valerie set up the shop 14 years ago and has raised thousands of pounds every year.

“The book shop is very well known locally and is run totally by volunteers known as shop-mates. It has a good selection of books and has really grown over the years.”

Most people at the bookshop give a day or half a day each week to help out.

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Samaritans is an emotional support charity and each branch is independent. The Ipswich branch costs £140 a day to run and they have to provide all their own funding.

Mrs Bell said: “We are always looking for volunteers, not only for the bookshop but also for the charity as a whole. We need people to volunteer four hours of their week to listen to people in distress and support people going through a crisis.

“We don't give advice, our lines are open 24 hours and we also welcome visitors to 140 St Helen's Street between 10am and 10pm. We are closed to visitors on Thursdays.”

The Ipswich branch currently has 67 volunteers but needs as many as 100 to operate to its full potential.

The charity is also looking for support volunteers who can help with fundraising.

As well as the bookshop, Samaritans have a charity shop in Eagle Street. Both shops are open from 10am to 3pm on weekdays and from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

If you would like to volunteer for Samaritans, visit samaritans.org/ipswich-eastsuffolk or phone 01473 211133.

Bookshop and fundraising volunteers can contact Mollie on 01473 258877.

If you wish to speak to a Samaritan call 01473 211133 or 08457 909090.

Do you know a charity worker with a special story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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