Work is underway on a new look home for the Coventry branch of Samaritans in Earlsdon.
The charity’s shop and call centre is undergoing major repair and renovation to improve the facility for its volunteers.
The renovations will see a complete refurbishment of the facility, including improved access for disabled volunteers, more storage for the shop and enhanced acoustics to assist in secure, sensitive conversations.
Deeley Construction is carrying out the works at the building on Moor Street, which is Earlsdon’s oldest shop and first opened in the 1860s as a provisions merchant.
The construction company has brought in architects IDP to manage the project on behalf of the Samaritans, and worked to establish a relationship with the 29th May Charitable Trust to provide grant support.
Other contractors assisting on the project include Umberslade Demolition, Claddagh Electrical, CDE Contractors, Naughton Interiors, D B Heating & Plumbing, Nationwide Windows, Midlands Flooring, Cladding Components, Midlands Floor Screeding and G&M Carpentry.
Coventry & District Samaritans were contacted more than 33,000 times in 2017 and are open 138 hours a week – assisted by its 120 strong group of volunteers.
The shop, which can raise up to £500 per week for the charity, is expected to re-open in April but the charity is still maintaining a full call service from a temporary base at Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind.
Mike Ballinger, project manager at the Coventry & District Samaritans, said: “Our volunteers are invaluable to us and without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the service we do.
“We wanted to make life easier for them and these renovations will help to do that, particularly by improving accessibility.
“The stairs inside are quite steep, and some of our volunteers find difficulty going up and down them at the moment. We will be lowering the stairs and also improving side access for volunteers in wheelchairs.
“The shop itself will be renovated too. Our shop volunteers are vital and with their fundraising allow the charity to focus on its core purpose of helping people by phone, text and e-mail.
“Deeley Construction have been very helpful in the process. It is a very professional organisation and it’s great to know that our building is in safe hands.
“We hope these changes will encourage more volunteers to join us in Coventry.”
Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, said: “The Coventry & District Samaritans provide an important service in the city and surrounding area.
“By working closely with our local supply chain we’re delivering this charitable scheme at an affordable cost to ensuring the Samaritans get as much help as possible from the funds available.
“We hope that the renovations at the shop and associated call centre will help the charity to continue their valued work for many years to come.”