Worcester branch first opened on October 3rd 1963, and the Bishop of Worcester made the first call to Worcester 21121. The same number is still used today. The national Samaritan organisation had been founded in 1953, and was the first 24 hour help-line in the UK. Worcester branch was the 36th to open.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!
The branch went from strength to strength, attracting up to 120 volunteers at any one time, and manning the phones full-time, 24/7, until very recently. However, the difficulty all voluntary organisations now experience in attracting new volunteers has been balanced by the advances in new technology which make it possible for branches to share calls and close at certain times, while ensuring there is always someone to listen to callers - 24/7!
The branch now does far more than was envisaged back in 1963. In addition to the basic telephone, face-to-face and correspondence services we now have email befriending and may soon have a texting service, and there is a constantly evolving variety of outreach activities.
The branch has occupied 5 buildings in the 50 years of its life:-
No 34 The Tything. 1963-1973
No 20 The Tything. 1973-1976
No 9 Sansome Place. 1976-2013
No 9a Sansome Place. c1980-2013
No10 Sansome Place. 2013-the present
The branch was first housed on the top floor of no. 34 The Tything, the St. John's Ambulance Brigade headquarters. In 1973 the branch moved across the road to no. 20 which was then part of the Nurses' Institute, and was later part of Kay's. There the rooms were on the ground floor and so more convenient for callers and volunteers.
In 1976 the branch purchased and renovated no.9 Sansome Place, one of a row of late 17th century terraced houses. Space was tight, so in the early 1980's the adjoining building, no.9a, was acquired, and these two together formed the branch until this year.
The branch has now bought, re-furbished and moved into no.10 Sansome Place, next door. The new building is lighter, warmer and far better adapted to the requirements of both callers and volunteers. The state of the art equipment will ensure that Worcester branch will continue to provide the best possible service to our callers as we adapt to exciting new developments in the movement.