A project to help secure the future of one of the area’s most valuable community support services has been heralded as a “fabulous achievement”.
Coventry & District Samaritans, which takes more than 30,000 calls a year, have returned to their Earlsdon home after the complex has undergone a total refurbishment which will guarantee its future on the site.
City-based Deeley Construction carried out the works which have been funded through the 29th of May 1961 Charitable Trust, the National Lottery and the Coventry Churches Charity as well through Samaritans funds.
The 135 volunteers returned to their Moor Street base to be welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor John Blundell.
He said: “The Samaritans volunteers undertake vital work and offer a superb resource – all from a desire to help other people. Not only is that service lifeline to people who need help, it is also very demanding on the volunteers themselves.
“This project shows what can be achieved when everyone comes together and pulls in the same direction to help a good cause and it is a fabulous achievement.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the project on behalf of Coventry City Council and the people of Coventry.”
The renovations have seen a complete refurbishment of the facility, including improved access for disabled volunteers, more storage for the fund-raising shop and enhanced acoustics to assist in secure, sensitive conversations.
The organisation’s shop, which is Earlsdon’s oldest and first opened in the 1860s as a provisions merchant, raises around £500 a week for the group.
Many of the companies involved carried out the work at cost, while the Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind offered the volunteers a base from which to work while the project was carried out on their Moor Street offices.
Trevor Montague, Director of Coventry & District Samaritans, said: “We have been working on this project for several years. In February 2017 I met Peter Deeley and he inspired me with his vision and stressed the importance of future proofing the work we did – and we now have a base which will serve us well for years to come.
“There has been so much work carried out by so many people and the results will make such a difference to our volunteers and to the support they offer the people of the city and the district.”
Mike Ballinger project managed the work for the Coventry & District Samaritans alongside city-based architects IDP, and other contractors assisting on the project included Umberslade, Claddagh Electrical, CDE Contractors, Naughton Interiors, D B Heating & Plumbing, Nationwide Windows, Midlands Flooring, Cladding Components, Midlands Floor Screeding, G&M Carpentry and JK Scaffolding.
Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, said: “I think the efforts put in by so many people simply reflect the appreciation of the work undertaken by the Samaritans and its volunteers.
“The refurbishment will not only make working conditions much better for the volunteers but it will also improve efficiencies while the work to the shop will hopefully boosts the funds it raises.”
Left to right: Lady Mayoress Lindsey Blundell, Peter Deeley, Lord Mayor Cllr John Blundell, Andrew Jones (29th of May 1961 Charitable Trust|), Trevor Montague.