A CHARITY that has helped to save lives in Cornwall for more than 50 years has received grant funding worth in excess of half-a-million pounds to make significant changes to its facilities.

Samaritans of Cornwall at Truro has been awarded £495,000 from the government-funded UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), alongside £15,000 from the Duchy Health Charity. This will help transform and redevelop the building it owns at Treyew Road in Truro, alongside the construction of a new stand-alone training centre within its grounds.

The Samaritans provide a listening service for adults and children in despair, with a vision that fewer people die by suicide.

The charity has raised more than £875,000 towards a total capital development target of just over £1-million for vital work.

Centrally located in Cornwall, the branch is easily accessible via major roads and public transport for volunteers, partners and service users. However, the building itself is problematic — a three-storey town house, it is not fully accessible and is no longer fit for purpose.

Cornwall Samaritans must undertake major capital work to secure its future, as well as enabling the charity to reach more beneficiaries, grow its services and make the charity more sustainable.

Sue Wilkins, voluntary director of Cornwall Samaritans, said: “These grants mean work can now begin, with a completion target of next spring. The developments will help us to reach those who need our services or would like to volunteer with us, as well as enabling better partnership working.

“Our aim is to achieve an energy-efficient, low-maintenance, cost-efficient branch to ensure expenses are controlled and that funds raised are focused on the provision of service. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported our capital appeal.”

As a local independent charity, Cornwall Samaritans must raise all its own funds. It responds to over 20,000 calls for help annually via phone and webchat, feeding into a national network where the first available Samaritan responds.

“We have also brought awareness to approximately 100,000 adults and children through our proactive and preventative work with the community over the past 12 months,” added Sue. “Every contact has the potential to reduce the number of deaths by suicide, so it is vital that we continue our work and expand our reach. Our capital development will deliver a positive impact across all our work, safeguarding our charity for the future.”

The charity hopes the changes will help to increase volunteer numbers and diversity so it can open more hours, embrace new technology and offer more outreach into the community.

To support Cornwall Samaritans’ capital appeal, email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org/truro