Dignitaries were welcomed to a charitable open day.

Redbridge Samaritans welcomed the public and local dignitaries to a meeting on last Saturday, March 23.

The charity, which has supported the Redbridge, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Epping Forest communities since 1967, was visited at its premises on Mildmay Road in Ilford.

Visitors included Redbridge Councillors Helen Coomb and Jyotsna Islam, as well as the Mayor of Redbridge Debbie Kaur-Thiara.

The Samaritans also had a stall on Ilford High Road, where they spoke with members of the public and raised awareness.

The branch was also visited by Loughton Town Council Mayor Stephen Murray who was shown around the premises by the branch director.

Along with viewing the branch, Cllr Murray learned how the branch handles the 9,000 calls received annually and how without Samaritans, many calls handled would be made to, and responded by, other public service organisations including social care services, the NHS, mental health services, the police and others.

Cllr Murray said "I found it very informative and it confirmed my view about the importance of the work carried out by the Samaritans."