Take a look at some of the comments our clients have made about our service…

“This service has been really helpful to me, from the opportunity for free care without which I couldn’t have found the correct support, to the easily contactable, relatable, personable counsellor.”

“The counselling I received was outstanding. I went to my first session feeling very low and I was in a very dark place. Through talking to [my counsellor] I discovered a lot about myself which I had never considered before. This new knowledge assisted me in developing strategies to cope with stressful situations in my personal life. I now see myself in a much more positive way. As a result my relationships with the people I care about have improved enormously and I am a much happier person.”

            We have the following vacancies   Trustees We are looking for additional Trustees (and, by definition, members of the Management Committee). The Trustee role involves attending 5 meetings a year (usually via Zoom) including a 2-hour meeting each quarter and the AGM. Most Trustees also help out in another way of their own choosing, such as fundraising, reviewing policies, attending new recruit interviews, organising social events, or any other activity that they can do to support the service. The only requirements are a commitment to attend meetings and an enthusiasm for NLCS! Telephone Team The telephone team is the first point of contact for potential clients looking for our support. Rebekah Bailey, our Telephone Team manager, says “The role is right at the front line following up requests for referrals and any other enquiries from people phoning our advertised phone number. The duty involves accessing messages left on our voicemail, taking details, phoning the enquirers back. You are allocated 3 consecutive days each month, which will then be the same in subsequent months. On average you can expect 3 messages per 3 days, some months zero, some months 4-6 messages. You will be self-reliant and the team is self-monitoring. You call from your own phone and make contact with enquiries by withholding your own number for privacy.” This is a great opportunity, for our trainee counsellors in particular, to develop your skills and experience the process of NLCS from start to finish. Rebekah and others on the team will provide guidance and support as necessary. If you are interested in either (or both!) of these roles, please email secretary@northlancscounselling.org.uk outlining how you can help us.  

As an NLCS Counsellor, are you interested in joining a peer support group for Counsellors to facilitate further discussion around best practice and sharing resources? If so, please contact chair@northlancscounselling.org.uk. This group is in addition to Supervision, and is not a substitute for it, however it will adhere to our strict confidentiality and sharing information guidance. At this time, it will be held via Zoom. Frequency can be totally dependent on the needs of those attending, with a view to start quarterly.

“My general physical and mental well-being has improved drastically since starting counselling; A very warm and welcoming place. Any fears I had were allayed straight away. Problems were dealt with in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. An excellent and vital service I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.”

I offer a very warm welcome to our four new Trainees – Nicola, Dianna, Amanda, and Rowan – who I know are getting underway with their counselling. We are all here to support you and each other, please do ask if you have any questions. I am also happy to welcome our two new Trustees, Christiaan Morgan and Rachel Stevenson, who have just joined the team with a wide range of experience and skills that will be a great asset. And finally, welcome to Emily and Henry, who are both volunteering with us as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award – all the best with your endeavours! Tammy, Nominal Chair, May 2021

“It has been a safe place in a time of difficulty and at a time when other services were not able to offer the support I required. Thank  you!”

“After struggling for 18 months with utter despair and depleted self-esteem following my son’s suicide, I was able to have frank and totally honest conversation about my feelings. My counsellor provided me with a constantly solid and non-judgemental sounding board which enabled me to gain clarity on my situation and progress towards a healthier and more constructive acceptance of my feelings. I have gained a greater emotional strength which benefits me well beyond my state of grief.”

What an achievement for our founders and the many subsequent volunteers that NLCS has been providing a free, counselling service continuously for the last 30 years. Our founder, Rev. Arthur Longworth (pictured here) would be extremely proud. As we are unable to meet in large groups at present, we will reflect on our achievements via a Zoom celebration later in the year – all are welcome. Please contact chair@northlancscounselling.org.uk if you are not a current member and wish to be invited. We have also created a wonderful booklet to share some of our history, memories, and achievements from the last 30 years. This is available to read in full in our HISTORY OF NLCS section.

“For me the space was best for expressing thoughts and feelings that I couldn’t make sense of outside.”

“It has given me the help and support I have long craved for and needed.  What I experienced will stay with me through my whole life”.

“The sessions were very helpful in talking things through, getting feedback … and expressing things in my own words I learnt some quite interesting things about myself. The sessions felt like a safe, open and respectful place which really helped in being open and speak and think freely about issues.”

“I met a very understanding and helpful person who never judged me or pushed me to accept anything but often helped me put into words what I was struggling with.  I feel like these sessions have helped me learn a lot about myself and gain very important and beneficial insight insight…..I would absolutely recommend the service to all seeking help with mental health and personal issues”.

            A warm welcome to Alison Farrell (Supervisor), and to our new trainee Counsellors Mary Rawcliffe, Helen Lawrie,and Shellie Briggs, all of whom joined us in March 2022. A big thank you and enjoy your time with NLCS  

Despite the challenges that we have faced over the last year, we have been fortunate enough not only to have some dedicated trainees who have been waiting in the wings to commence their counselling placement (and are now gladly able to) but also to recruit some new volunteers. A warm welcome to everyone joining our service – and a gracious thank you to all our volunteers old and new!

NLCS held its AGM on Friday 21st October. At the conclusion of the meeting, Tammy Tunstall stepped down as our Chair after three years in the role. Dennis Dickson, a former Chair and our longest serving volunteer (25+ years and counting) commented “talk about come the hour, come the person! We get struck down by a pandemic and there is Tammy, wonderfully steering the organisation through what must have been its most difficult time, certainly since I have been with NLCS. I appreciate Tammy was wonderfully supported by the MC.” Kathryn Crameri, our Vice Chair echoed this and offered a formal vote of thanks to Tammy, reminding the meeting that the pandemic had forced many changes on the way NLCS operates. All of these have been safely and successfully negotiated with Tammy at the helm. This sentiment was warmly and roundly supported by all present. Tammy will remain with NLCS in her role as Trustee and as a member of the Management Committee.

“I am so pleased to know that North Lancs Counselling Service is still there for the many people who need it. It must be well over 20 years since I saw one of your counsellors and, as for all clients, it is a lifeline in times of acute need. I enclose a small contribution towards the cost of running your wonderful organisation, and thankyou again for the help it was able to give me so many years ago.”

As a small, local charity offering free and reduced cost counselling, we are looking for qualified Supervisors to offer low cost supervision to our volunteers. Each of our Supervisors works with up to 3 counsellors at a rate of £20 per hour. If you would like to know more please contact Kathryn at vicechair@northlancscounselling.org.uk.

“My experience with the service has been entirely positive. It has helped me to realise and express some of the issues exacerbating my mental health problems, and has helped me better my life.”

“It’s often difficult to imagine sitting with a complete stranger and talking to him about personal things but the counsellors at NLCS are warm and friendly and you soon realise the benefits that therapy can bring for you. By opening up it feels as though a weight is somehow lifted. I definitely came away feeling much better in myself.”

“I approached in trepidation and left with my faith in counselling begun and my faith in humanity restored!”

              We are looking for a new Chair to help support and develop the work of the service and to help us meet the challenges of the future. The Chair will: liaise directly with our Vice Chair and Secretary to help chair quarterly Trustee meetings, as well as the AGM – currently all via video-link help manage and develop the ongoing work of the service, such as the recruitment of volunteers, working to best practice, fund-raising, updates to policies and procedures, and managing any safeguarding concerns which may arise lead/work with the Management Team/Trustees to generate ideas and agree strategies to help meet a rapidly changing environment. What are we looking for? A dynamic individual who can support and develop the work of the service and help us meet the challenges of the future. Practical considerations We would expect applicants to have: an understanding of counselling and psychotherapy or other mental health support practices an understanding of safeguarding issues experience of team building the ability to lead/collaborate on the development of new policies experience of successfully managing (or contributing to the management of) an organisation, ideally a charity good organisation and communication skills, including writing reports, policies, and newsletters which can be shared with the wider team basic I.T. skills to manage emails and documents and to attend video-link meetings. Requirements Relevant qualifications or training Will require criminal record check Own computer or secure access to one Must live in, or work locally to, the Lancaster area   Taking the next step If you are interested in applying, please send your cv, with a brief covering letter, to vicechair@northlancscounselling.org.uk and secretary@northlancscounselling.org.uk   Applications will close no later than 31st March 2023  

As Government guidance remains changeable in line with the development of the pandemic, we are working hard to keep all our clients and volunteers safe, whilst maintaining our counselling provision. At the time of writing (January 2021) only in rare circumstances are we agreeing to see clients face-to-face – and in these circumstances our building and protocols are guided by our strict health and safety risk assessment. Most of our work continues to either be by telephone call or online video-link. For volunteers – a copy of the risk assessment can be found on DropBox. We hope you continue to keep yourselves well. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

“Fantastic service, friendly, reliable and a life saving therapy. Margaret has changed my life, my family’s life and turned my life into a successful achievement. I have no hesitations to think that without her direct service I wouldn’t be here today and my children and wife wouldn’t have a husband or Dad. WOW. As a 33 year old male always being brought up to hide my feelings Margaret has changed my life into talking and exploring my feelings – Thankyou so much :)”

We are incredibly proud to hear this week that one of our fantastic volunteers, Rebecca Oaks, has received an MBE from the Queen for her services to coppicing and woodcraft. This is a remarkable achievement, particularly as we know she has also offered so much time and commitment to our clients at North Lancashire Counselling too. https://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/north_lancashire/19376742.coppice-worker-rebecca-oaks-carnforth-receives-mbe/ On behalf of everyone at NLCS, we share our congratulations and thanks for all you do! Well done!  

“NLCS has proved invaluable to me as a service and it also proved to be a real lifeline.  Their ability to offer person centred counselling on a weekly basis really helped me shift some emotional mountains that have affected my health and wellbeing for many years. I was really suffering and had run out of options – the NHS seemed only able to offer short term CBT courses, which I’d done to death. I couldn’t afford to pay for private counselling so your service really made a HUGE difference to my life.  A big and HEARTFELT  THANK YOU”.

“I feel I have been given excellent service since I first made contact. Making that initial telephone call was very difficult for me as it made me realise I was really in need of therapy.”

“I have found the flexibility of your service to go on for as long or short a time, very helpful to really get to the heart of issues. Rather than the NHS option of 10 weeks and that’s it! I feel this went the course of going through issues to natural solutions. Even though I could continue, it feels right to stop and consolidate, continue to process on my own and hopefully not need any more support, but reassuring to know I could make contact again.”

Hello everyone Kathryn Crameri and her Trust Singers are “on the road again”; this time with a Christmas themed musical evening, the proceeds from which will again benefit NLCS. Trust Singers are a Garstang based choir and you can read more about them on their FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/trustsingers Details of the occasion are below. If you fancy going along, please contact them directly. Naturally, please feel free to publicise this further to anyone outside of NLCS who would be interested. The more tickets that are sold, the greater the benefit to NLCS.

John Finch, a friend of NLCS, visited our new website and downloaded our 30th birthday celebration booklet, available as a download here. As a result he took the time and trouble to put together a short “taster video” summarising what we do. To view it, you can click THIS LINK Enjoy and, from all of us at NLCS, thank you again John