Filling the counselling gap
Filling the counselling gap
Over the last three years, the Evelyn Trust has been funding Cambridgeshire’s Cogwheel Trust to develop their counselling services as a training ground for the next generation of counselling professionals. Its services fill a significant gap in mental health service provision locally.
Deprivation and disadvantage are common in parts of both urban and rural Cambridgeshire, despite the fact that Cambridge ranks nationally as a very affluent city. While some people suffering from depression or anxiety may find private counselling services affordable, these are not accessible to local people on low incomes, or who may be unemployed and NHS services are struggling to meet demand. The Cogwheel Trust offers counselling services to help adults, couples and children cope when life seems impossible and, critically, they don’t charge for the service, but ask for small donations.
Cogwheel provides counselling and psychotherapy support from bases in Cambridge, Sawston and Ely. Early counselling intervention has been shown to be very effective and prevents more complex health and social needs from developing. Counselling can enable positive change for individuals and families, leading to a healthier, happier and more hopeful outlook.
Three years ago, the charity recognised that it could offer a unique service locally as a development opportunity for newly-qualified counsellors to find their professional feet, or for counsellors who were in their final year of training. The funding from the Evelyn Trust enabled Cogwheel to offer high quality, safe training places to new counsellors, who are professionally assessed, supervised and appraised so they are ready to qualify, or practice, with confidence. In return for the training and support they have received, Cogwheel asks their newly-qualified counsellors to volunteer with them for up to two years as a way of giving something back for the valuable development and mentoring.
Jeremy Barnett, Chair of the Trustees for Cogwheel, updates on the initiative: “Although we haven’t trained as many counsellor volunteers as we hoped to over the lifetime of the project, we have secured 24 counsellor volunteers this year and this has meant that we have brought down the cost of a counselling session, which is great news in terms of sustainability. The Evelyn Trust’s generous funding has helped us to increase the number of counselling sessions and helped us to reduce the number of paid counsellors we use. Of course the critical issue is the outcome for clients. Evaluation continues to show that our work is very effective in reducing severe and moderate distress over the period of counselling.”
Cogwheel’s latest data show that, at the start of counselling, 19% of people reported that they were severely or moderately distressed: this fell to just 7% at the end of counselling, with 40% of people scoring as ‘healthy’.
To find out more about Cogwheel’s services visit the Cogwheel website