Port Vale defender Adam Yates cut the ribbon on the Stoke and Newcastle Samaritans’ new store in Burslem.
Werrington-born Yates – the club’s longest serving player – joined store manager Jan Allen and five of volunteers to officially unveil the charity shop to a crowd on Queen Street.
The player’s father Paul was once a listener for the charity, who provide confidential support over the phone for those in despair, distress or having suicidal thoughts.
Adam Yates said: “These people who work for the Samaritans deserve the utmost respect and support. It’s a tough job.
“These people need some recognition and as a football club, we should support it as much as we can.”
A raffle for a Port Vale shirt signed by all of last season’s players helped to raise £138 on the opening day and Mrs Allen said she was pleased to have Yates involved.
She said: “It’s been nice to have his help, because I know his dad. It was nice to invite him because it brings back the family again. We’re a nice family branch.”
With the Samaritans’ main branch nearby, they have moved just two doors down from their previous premises, but the new store will allow both staff and customers extra room.
Mrs Allen said: “It’s a big advantage to have a bigger store. We’ve got more floor space and we’ve got two rooms upstairs whereas before we only had one.
“At the back, we also have storage space but next door we didn’t. We didn’t have anything like that, so this is a big boom.”
Mrs Allen and her five other colleagues only received the lease for the property on October 22.
On the help that the shop helps provide, Mrs Allen, who has helped out for six years, added: “We need money to man the phones. This shop is the fundraising part of it.
“Our volunteers come in for any hour that they can spare to help out. They usually do four hour shifts, which is really good.
“All the money from the fundraising then goes to the branch.”