This year, through funding from City Bridge Trust, we have expanded our volunteer-led counselling service, which has empowered our customers to work through issues such as substance misuse, depression, abuse and bereavement.
Our volunteer counsellors, who are registered members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, support customers with emotional, behavioural and relationship issues, adapting different approaches and methods to suit each individual.
Customers can access up to 12 counselling sessions, completely free of charge and within an average of 6 weeks after being referred, which is significantly shorter than waiting times for similar local statutory services, which can take up two years.
Cassandra, who began as a volunteer counsellor with Evolve in October 2015, has empowered customers by building close and trusting relationships with them:
‘For me, the real issue isn’t the problem that people come with; it’s about the relationship that you have together. The relationship you have with your counsellor can change your situation significantly. When you see that change in the person, it is so rewarding’.
The one-to-one counselling allows our customers to express their thoughts and feelings in a confidential environment and learn how to manage them in a more constructive and positive way. Speaking of one customer who Cassandra supported, she said:
‘It was so rewarding to see that I could make her feel happy, make her feel safe. It was great to see that her life was changing for the better, and that I was a part of that change.’
Our volunteer counselling service is part of our wider Health + Wellbeing programme, which empowers people to make positive changes to their lifestyles to improve their mental and physical health.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, please check out our volunteering opportunities page.
If you would like to help support our vital work with homeless people in London, click here.