Redbridge Samaritans threw open its doors to the public and local dignitaries on Saturday 23rd March.
The local charity, which has been supporting the Redbridge, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Epping Forest communities since 1967, was visited at its premises in Mildmay Road , Ilford.
The first visitor on the day was Stephen Murray, the Loughton Town Council Mayor. His Council are long term supporters of the branch. He was shown around the premises by Branch Director Sue. Along with viewing the branch, Sue explained how the branch handles the some 9,000 calls received there annually, and that without Samaritans many calls handled would be made to, and responded by, other public service organisations – social care services, the NHS, mental health services, the police and others. The service significantly reduces the operational and financial burden on the public sector, including councils, hospitals and other providers.
Mr Murray said “I found it very informative and it confirmed my view about the importance of the work carried out by the Samaritans.”
Later on in the morning the branch was visited by Redbridge Councillors Helen Coomb and Jyotsna Islam and the Mayor of Redbridge, Debbie Kaur-Thiara, who were impressed to hear how the branch works closely in partnership with Network Rail and London Underground to reduce suicide on the rail network, and how over the years the branch has supported a wide range of other local organisations including those working in the fields of homelessness, rough sleeping, education, business, probation and bereavement.
The Samaritans also had a stall on Ilford High Road, where they chatted with members of the public and raised awareness.