King’s Lynn Samaritans move ‘will secure group’s future’

Lynn Samaritans unveil relocation plan at 51-55 St James Street, Lynn
left to right Eleanor Smith trustee, David Conner trustee, Gill Sale trustee and Jenny Storf (Chair of the friends of Kings Lynn branch of the Samaritans) ANL-160417-185528009

Lynn Samaritans unveil relocation plan at 51-55 St James Street, Lynn left to right Eleanor Smith trustee, David Conner trustee, Gill Sale trustee and Jenny Storf (Chair of the friends of Kings Lynn branch of the Samaritans) ANL-160417-185528009

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A Lynn charity group’s long-term future will be secured by plans to move its operations to a new site in the town centre, officials say.

The Samaritans branch has secured premises in St James Street, close to the police station, where refurbishment work is expected to start soon.

The new facility, which is being funded through a legacy gift from a local resident whose family was supported by the branch, is expected to open in the spring of next year.

The group intends to continue operating from its current base in Queen Street, where it has worked from for nearly 50 years, until then.

But officials say the move will secure the long-term future of a group that has seen significant growth in its volunteer base in recent times.

Trustee and project lead David Conner said the group had “outgrown” its current home.

He said: “We have been recruiting quite heavily for the last couple of years and have increased our volunteers by about 20 per cent. We have about 80 volunteers and growing and we want to operate for longer at night.”

The group is currently working with an architect on the project. Although the exact cost has not been revealed, the group expects the total spent will run into six figures.

The move is also intended to improve access for disabled people who either need support or wish to become volunteers.

Mr Conner said that access limitations at the Queen Street site meant the group was currently unable to welcome disabled volunteers or service users there.

The group also says the complex will means its volunteers are better equipped than ever before to continue their outreach work with health, education, police and transport groups.

He added: “The new centre will ensure we can provide an even warmer and more welcoming environment for people going through difficult times or struggling with their thoughts or feelings.

“It will also mean we can continue to develop our services so that we are available to more people, for example by email, text and other digital services, as well as our traditional phone lines.

“We’ll also be creating a first-class working environment for our volunteers, with new spaces for training and developing our existing volunteers as well as new recruits.”

The group also says individuals, businesses and community groups will also have the chance to get involved in the project.

To find out more about volunteering, or to offer support, contact Mr Conner on 07595 983219 or email connerdj@icloud.com.