History of Samaritans of Ipswich and East Suffolk

Ipswich and East Suffolk Samaritans branch

About our branch

We're one of the oldest Samaritans branches, and we've been a part of the Ipswich and Suffolk community for more than 50 years. 

Samaritans of Ipswich and East Suffolk is one of 201 Samaritans branches across the UK and Ireland. Together, we offer emotional support to our callers 24 hours a day.

You can find our current branch at 140 St Helen's Street, Ipswich, near Suffolk New College.

Our usual opening hours to receive visitors at the branch are 10am to 10pm - please check our main page for specific daily opening times. 

Our branch is a converted two-storey building, and includes the following:

  • Operations room - where we take phone calls and respond to people by email and text messages
  • Visitors' room - where we welcome anyone and support them face-to-face
  • Training room - where we train new listening and support volunteers
  • Sleeping rooms - which volunteers can use before or after supporting callers late at night

We also have access for wheelchair users, an office and other rooms to help run the branch.

Our branch history

1962

Operating room at Ipswich and East Suffolk Samaritans

Following a meeting at Ipswich Town Hall, 80 volunteers were selected for a new branch of The Samaritans. Chad Varah came to Ipswich to train the new Samaritans.

1963

The Ipswich and East Suffolk branch opened at St Stephen’s Church, in the Buttermarket, Ipswich. After a few months, the branch moved to Coytes Gardens near to the Willis Faber building.

1974

The branch moved to Tower Street, Ipswich.

1994

The branch moved to its current premises at 140 St Helen’s Street, Ipswich.

1994

Visitors' room at Ipswich and East Suffolk Samaritans

The Samaritans of Ipswich and East Suffolk charity shop was opened in Eagle Street, Ipswich.

1997

We had two double-fronted shops in Eagle Street; one trading as a book shop, and the other as a charity shop.

2006

The operations room (above, right) was refurbished to provide a better environment for volunteers to take calls and support fellow volunteers.

2012

The charity shop moved to 20 Carr Street, Ipswich after 17 years in Eagle Street.

2013

Our van at Ipswich and East Suffolk SamaritansThe visitors room (above, right) was refurbished to provide the best possible environment for people coming to see us in person.

2014

We invested in a new van (right) for outreach and awareness events and to help collecting donations for our shop.

2015 

Our story continues...

Get in touch

You can contact Samaritans of Ipswich and East Suffolk online using one of the following: