THE Samaritans of Newbury have officially opened their newly-refurbished centre in West Street.
Newbury MP Richard Benyon was invited along to cut the ribbon on Friday.
The Samaritans say the facility has been in need of updating for some considerable time.
The internal layout of the building has been reconfigured to adapt to the changing needs of callers, while the exterior has also undergone work.
The work has been made possible thanks to the donations from Newbury residents, during collections in the town, alongside a substantial bequest.
It has enabled the Samaritans to commission the complete refurbishment which includes a private office, training/meeting room, refurbished kitchen and toilet facilities and a newly-decorated face-to-face visitors room.
Jerry Dixon, Newbury branch director and listening volunteer, said: “Our purpose as Samaritans remains unchanged – to be there for anyone who is struggling to cope, including those who are feeling suicidal.
“What have been changing are the ways in which we can now do this.
“Historically, Samaritans was a drop-in centre and telephone service, and, whilst these are still very much at the heart of what we do, we are now supporting callers via email and text messages as well.
“This can be a preferred route to seeking help for some – especially the younger generation who tend to be more comfortable with this way of communicating – and allows us to be there for even more people.
“With the refurbishment of the centre and the introduction of new equipment, we are now able to fully embrace these different methods of supporting callers in a purpose-designed and comfortable environment.
“It’s been a difficult few months, with the refurbishment work being carried out around us, and I’d like to thank all our volunteers for putting up with the disruption whilst continuing to be there for our callers.
“I’d also like to thank all those in the West Berkshire community who have donated money to Samaritans over the years – without your generosity it would not be possible for us to continue doing what we do.”
Anyone can contact Samaritans on (01635) 42452 (local call) or 116 123 (Freecall, and will not appear on your phone bill).
Alternatively, visit the centre at 58 West Street, Newbury, RG14 1BD, email email@example.com or write to Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA.