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A glimpse into Norwich Samaritans: A Q&A with Ben Handford

A glimpse into Norwich Samaritans: A Q&A with Ben Handford
A glimpse into Norwich Samaritans: A Q&A with Ben Handford

In the heart of Norwich, there exists a remarkable group of individuals united by a common purpose: to lend an ear and offer support to those navigating life's complex waves.

The Norwich branch of the Samaritans embodies the essence of community and empathy, making profound differences in countless lives.

We had the privilege of speaking with Ben Handford, a dedicated member of this compassionate team, to uncover the depth and breadth of their mission within the local community.

Q: Can you share some insights into the impactful work Samaritans Norwich has been doing in the community?
A: "In the last year alone, we've answered 29,262 calls for support. But our reach extends beyond phone lines; we engage through online chats and emails as well. Our active outreach team is particularly involved in the local prisons, training inmates to support their peers, and we're also there for the emergency call handling staff in the county. It's all about creating a support network that extends into every corner of our community."

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Q: Volunteers are the backbone of Samaritans. Could you shed light on the experience of being a Samaritans volunteer in Norwich, and how individuals can get involved?

A: "Absolutely, our volunteers are the heart and soul of what we do. Norwich Samaritans boasts over 200 volunteers, not just listeners but those fulfilling vital roles like shop staff, van drivers, and IT support, among others. Anyone interested in joining can start by visiting our website. We hold information and selection days to give a comprehensive view of what it takes and what it means to be a Samaritan volunteer. It's an opportunity to learn valuable skills, forge new friendships, and be part of an incredible community, all while making a tangible difference in people's lives."

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Q: The upcoming Samaritans Ball in Norwich is generating a lot of excitement. Can you tell us more about the event, its objectives, and what attendees can look forward to?

A: "The Samaritans Ball is a milestone for us, celebrating 60 years of the Norwich branch. It's a chance for us to showcase our work to a wider audience and, of course, to raise crucial funds for our branch through an auction and raffle with some exclusive prizes and one of a kind experiences. Since we're an independent charity receiving no government or NHS funding, events like these are vital. Attendees can look forward to a fun evening including a fabulous three course dinner from Norfolk Edge and music by the iconic Night Train, an evening that not only entertains but also enlightens about the Samaritans' crucial role in the community.”

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Q: Beyond the ball, what are the future plans or initiatives for Samaritans Norwich to further your mission and support within the community?

A: "Following our recent refurbishment, which significantly enhanced our center and volunteer capacity, our next goal is to grow our volunteer base even more. The UK needs an estimated 10,000 additional volunteers to meet the current demand for support services. We're aiming to add another 100 volunteers to our branch in the coming years, helping to ensure that anyone in need finds a listening ear and a supportive voice at the end of the line."


You can still book a table for the upcoming ball by emailing Norwich Samaritans here. Naked are proud to support this event with free design.

For more information, to volunteer or donate in support of the Norwich branch please visit their website.