Counselling services

During 2016/2017 - our fee-based counselling provision continued to grow with our team of honorary therapists seeing 48 clients at our Jubilee centre. After consulting with local counselling students, we decided to launch a new therapy package. Our new “student package” now offers a reduced rate for those training to be a counsellor and we intend on expanding this to meet the needs of students counsellors in our area.  

Youth services

Our youth counselling project funded by Comic Relief unfortunately came to an end in May 2017. Our two counsellors were subsequently employed by schools that were part of the project which carried on their counselling provision with volunteer peer supporters. We saw 258 beneficiaries for counselling, training and peer support and 392 over the two year lifetime of the grant.  Since the end of the service, we are delighted to say that both youth counsellors have been taken on as staff in those schools we  served.

PTSD project

In April 2016, the highly-successful Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder project came to a close and we were sad to lose some of the staff. The previous summer we started working on a new Trauma programme which took the learnings from the 5 year PTSD project and, through consultation with key stakeholders, we built a new holistic and innovative project. In June 2017, we successfully won £347,000 to run the new 3-year project until 2020.


We would like to say a big thank you to all the staff of the PSTD project who helped gather vital data and support for the Trauma programme and all your hard work over the last year where they delivered specialist support for 193 people.


Our mental health training provision had taken a back seat over the last year due to organisational priorities.

We are delighted to say that in March 2016, the board of trustees approved much-needed investment in the provision and its transfer to the new development department. 

Supported housing

Our housing department has been restructured in the last year- we have four members of staff who are now located at Nelson’s Gate. This will ensure that our staff and tenants maintain their close professional relationships.  We are delighted to report that Brightwell underwent extensive renovations to improve the living standards for our tenants. Brightwell is now a male only house and Cotswold is a female house. We have had 15 tenants successfully move on to their own accommodation in the last year.

The REASON project

Our black and ethnic minority outreach service, funded by Southend and Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Groups sadly ended in March 2017 after nearly a decade of support. The legacy of this project is that Family Action at the Kursaal continues to see our female clients in a women’s only group there.  This service served the community but now we acknowledge that our community has changed and a new co-produced service is needed to meet the needs of the new minorities living in our region.

Initial Enquiry Service and peer support

Our enquiry service has been funded by the Firebird fund and by the MVM and Denman charitable trusts over the last year. It has enabled us to reach approximately 392 individuals, plus follow up calls to offer them advice on their mental health. During 2016/2017, we had a fixed term services coordinator and new action plans to give to clients. We are delighted to report that we have invested in a permanent coordinator role to continue with this service. Our peer support service has been somewhat restricted due to lack of volunteers. This is something we are addressing now we have a permanent staff member to oversee it.

Partnership working

We have been working more closely with the borough council this year, bidding for the drug and alcohol tender with the Drug and Alcohol Commissioning Team and being part of the consultation process for the peri-natal mental health tender. We continue to offer Police and Criminal Evidence three months out of the year. We have built relationships with the children’s service in Southend Borough Council so we are a preferred partner for children’s counselling. We have started a monthly drop in at the Storehouse, a local food bank, and have restarted our participation in the Complex Needs Panel with Southend Borough Council (SBC). We have also been a part of a High Street patrol pilot-led by SBC. Housing continues to work closely with the Access Panel, our counselling teams work closely with the Counselling and Support Services Southend (CASSS) network and we have been growing our relationships with local educational providers such as South Essex College, Southend Adult Community College and University of Essex. The counselling department have delivered trauma training to South Essex College, as well as to our partner organisations HARP, Family Mosaic and STARS. We also attend an “Interprofessionals’ meeting” once a month hosted by the First Response Team. We were also invited to present at an international therapy conference in Chicago on our trauma provision.

PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence)

We have continued to support vulnerable adults through the PACE programme (Police and Criminal Evidence) funded by Southend Borough Council. As a mental health charitable organisation, we continue to represent our community and liaise with the police and emergency services through the Crisis Care Concordat across the Southend and wider Essex area.

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