Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans have celebrated their 50th anniversary with an open house for the neighbours of its South Ealing headquarters.
The Saturday evening event attracted great interest from local residents.
Heena Johnson, the 17th director of the Samaritans branch said: “We thought it well past time to meet the neighbours, and what better reason than a 50th birthday.”
Visitors were shown around the branch offices, including its heart: the operations room which is where the 120 Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow volunteers deliver their confidential phone service.
Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans opened on Friday 21st January 1972 when the founding members took their first phone calls from people seeking emotional support.
Since then, 2,242 volunteers from Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow have been trained to handle over one million phone calls.
The west London Samaritans’ first headquarters was in the basement of the church hall of the former Broadway Methodist Church which had been scheduled for demolition as part of a subsequently abandoned town centre regeneration scheme.
In 1987 the branch moved to its present home, a former Fullers off-licence at 26 Junction Road, South Ealing.
As well as manning the phones and running an email support service, the Branch participates in the Rail Industry Suicide prevention programme which aims to reduce suicide on the railways and to support everyone affected by them.
It also runs the Listener Scheme at Wormwood Scrubs prison where a group of prisoners is selected and trained to offer emotional support to other prisoners who are experiencing feelings of distress.
All Samaritans branches are individual charities run entirely by volunteers and Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans (registered charity number 1173588) is only able to continue to support those in despair and distress thanks to donations, legacies and fundraising by the Branch.
Here's how to make a donation.