Monday 21 January 2019 saw Samaritans' biggest Brew Monday campaign to date, and volunteers in Norwich enjoyed a hugely successful day of raising awareness in the community.
Dubbed 'the most difficult day of the year', Norwich branch helped turn the third Monday in January on its head by encouraging friends, family and work mates to have a chat over a brew.
With some fantastic support from Greater Anglia, outreach volunteer, Gwen, led the annual event at Norwich Railway Station. Despite the chill on the concourse there was a brilliant turn out of volunteers happy to help raise awareness of the campaign by chatting to commuters, handing out tea bags, and taking some emotional support contacts.
Overall, we engaged with approximately 250 people, and in the station alone we raised £105. In real terms, this will help us to answer 21 calls from people in need.
Norwich branch were also fortunate to receive support at the station from former Norwich coroner William Armstrong OBE, Chairman of Norfolk County Council Margaret Stone, as well as the British Transport Police and Land Sheriffs. Volunteers were glad for the support & it made for some truly smashing photos!
Elsewhere in the city, cafes The Feed, KindaKafe, YMCA Stepping Stones and King's Coffee were also raising awareness of the campaign by handing tea bags & materials out to customers.
In particular, KindaKafe were brilliant in hosting a collaboartive Brew Monday event with volunteers from their own listening sceheme as well as some Norwich Sams listening volunteers. Swallowtail WI & Better Together Norfolk also lent some support, which made for some great conversations and valued connections in the community.
Our two charity shops on Aylsham Road and Westlegate also joined in on raising awareness this year. By putting on some fabulous dangling tea cup displays and encouraging customers to take a tea bag for a chat with a friend, they joined in with real enthusiasm.
Further out in Norfolk again, some supporters were kind enough to hold Brew Monday bake sales in their offices to help raise money for the branch. Across all activities on the day, we raised a total of £350 and gave out 800 tea bags!
With all this was going on BBC Radio Norfolk were brilliant in their coverage & featured interviews of our activities. Volunteers found it very strange to hear their soundbites played on the news round ups!
We're also grateful to Future Radio, Iceni Magazine & EDP/Norwich Evening News for their support in raising awareness of Brew Monday locally. There was also some really brilliant buzz all over social media helping to spread the message.
To round it all off, as the day drew to a close, Norwich City Hall was lit up in a cheerful Samaritans green to help raise awareness of the campaign from 4pm to 1am.
A huge thanks to all that contributed to such a busy, bright and brew-tiful Monday in Norwich - you're all tea-rrific!