Walsall's Samaritans branch in plea for £250k to keep running

A Black Country branch of a national charity says it desperately needs £250,000 to keep its operation going.

The Walsall and District branch of Samaritans has issued a public appeal after being based in a portable building, on Bott Lane in the town, since 1971.

Volunteers say the building is now in a state of disrepair and needs replacing.

The branch estimates they only have a maximum of 18 months left to safely work in the building.

In order to raise the much-needed funds, the branch has launched the Project 55 appeal, to mark 55 years of operations in the town.

Volunteer Sharon Dicken, who has worked at the branch for seven years, said volunteering was "one of the most amazing things to be able to do".

"Samaritans are here to listen to people," she said. "We all know that sharing an issue can help take that pressure off your mind."

"It's 53-years-old and it's showing every year of its age now. It's really in a very serious state of disrepair," Ms Dicken said.

"It's literally coming apart at the seams. Water has got into the fabric of the building and it's really rotting."

After getting permission to replace the building, Project 55 involves asking 250 individuals, groups, or companies to raise £1,000 each to enable the work to be carried out.

'Fabulous support'

Ms Dicken said: "Money's very tight, that's why we know we're asking a lot of people - but we think if enough of us can do it together we'll be able to raise the money that we need.

"We know we've got fabulous support in the community so we're hoping that people will pick up the challenge and say, 'I can raise £1,000 and that will be my contribution towards keeping Walsall Samaritans on site and in the area for the next 50 years'."

People can donate by visiting the Samaritans website.

If you need support, you can call Samaritans for free 24/7 on 116-123.

For other support you can also click into the BBC's Action Line.

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