Kind-hearted shoppers in Glascote have come to the aid of Tamworth Samaritans by giving up their dividends to raise nearly £800 for the crisis service.
The cash, from Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund, will help the Samaritans reach out to more people in the area who are distressed and lonely.
Customers at Glascote Co-op donated the value of the ‘divis’ earned on their purchases to support the organisation which was contacted more than 27,000 times in 2017.
Tamworth Samaritans branch director Gerwyn Cooper said, as funding is always tight, this “feels like winning the lottery.”
A total of 95 volunteers, based at The Manor House in Lichfield Street, provide support by phone, text and email, with plans to introduce an instant messaging service later this year. Not all those who get in touch are suicidal. Increasingly loneliness is prompting people to turn to the service, while others have a mental or physical illness, or family problems they want to talk about.
The Samaritans are active in other areas too. From time to time volunteers are called to Tamworth railway station to comfort those who have witnessed traumatic events.
Other activities include weekly visits to Swinfen Hall Prison to support inmates and staging regular events aimed at increasing awareness about the Samaritans.
Mr Cooper said Tamworth Co-op also has a tradition of helping local people as part of its Community Dividend Fund scheme.
“We would like to say a very sincere thank you to the Co-op and its customers,” he added. “This generous donation will enable us to develop our programmes even further, to hold more events, as well as provide targeted information and contact cards.”
Glascote Co-op store manager Annette Brindley said: “The volunteers give up hours of their time freely and we’re very pleased to be in a position to support them in their vital work.”
*Anyone in distress or feeling alone can call Tamworth Samaritans’ Freephone line on 116 123.