THE base of the Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley branch of the Samaritans is set for a major £141,000 renovation as it celebrates its 50th birthday.

Work will start soon after it secured a £33,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation to complete the project's financial package .

The Samaritans’ New Park Street home in Blackburn will get a new duty room where volunteers take calls from those needing help , a kitchen, toilets and improved training facilities.

Volunteer John Littlewood said: "In our branch’s 50th year of providing emotional support for the community our aim was to improve access to our premises for disabled face-to-face callers and volunteers. The last year alone our branch took more than 30,000 calls .

"The Wolfson Foundation was a natural choice and our branch was successful in obtaining a grant which, along with other grants from other organisations, will help us achieve a full renovation.

Cllr Damian Talbot, Blackburn with Darwen Council's wellbeing boss, said: "This is fantastic news and I’m delighted we were able to assist in the application. The Samaritans provide a vitally important and valued service for the people of our borough."