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Brent Samaritans branch celebrates 50th anniversary of being lifeline for people

PUBLISHED: 08:13 09 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:13 09 April 2018

Mayor of Brent Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan attended Brent Samaritan's 50th anniversary (Sarah Turton)

Mayor of Brent Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan attended Brent Samaritan's 50th anniversary (Sarah Turton)

Archant

The mayor of Brent was guest of honour at the 50th anniversary celebrations of a Samaritans branch in Harlesden.

Paul Ricketts, director of Brent Samaritans with Mayor of Brent Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan (Sarah Turton)Paul Ricketts, director of Brent Samaritans with Mayor of Brent Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan (Sarah Turton)

Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan joined staff at the Brent Samaritans branch in Leopold Road on March 19.

The charity has about 50 volunteers who work on a rota shift supporting anyone feeling down, depressed, anxious or struggling to cope.

Cllr Chohan said: “I am delighted to have been able to come to meet you and thank you personally.

“I can feel for myself that your centre in Leopold Road has a very special community feeling, with volunteers from their early 20s to others in their 80s all working together to share a common goal.

“You are literally offering a lifeline to people, and I wish you the best for the next 50 years.”

The branch took its first call in 1967. Last year, volunteers took 4,000 phone calls, replied to 924 emails and texts and saw 74 callers face-to-face, offering emotional support to anyone experiencing feelings of distress and despair.

The branch also provides a support network in the local community by working with schools, prisons and railway stations to deliver outreach programmes.

Volunteers provide support to the family of prisoners at the Prison Visitors’ Centre at Wormwood Scrubs every fortnight.

The charity also regularly raises awareness of Samaritans’ service at local stations, as part of its national partnership with Network Rail to reduce the incidence of suicides on the railways.

Paul Ricketts, director of Brent Samaritans, said: “I am incredibly proud of every Samaritans volunteer who has helped deliver the service over the last 50 years.

“Services like ours are needed now more than ever as modern life has not eclipsed the human need to be listened to, supported and helped through difficult times.

“I am also so pleased that the volunteers at Brent truly represent the diversity of our local community.”

The branch is looking to recruit and train new volunteers to enable them to extend opening hours at the centre and to man the phones.

All those interested are asked to email admin@brentsams.org, call 020 8961 7633 or visit samaritans.org.

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