A North East counselling service is preparing to mark its tenth anniversary, a decade during which it has helped thousands of people at difficult times in their lives.
Gateshead-based North East Counselling Services (NECS) is a Community Interest Company formed in July 2006 to provide a free counselling service for individuals, couples, children and families throughout Gateshead and surrounding areas.
Its team, which provides counselling and therapy from GP surgeries, schools and other community venues, works with carers, the cared-for and their families, children and young people, ex-service personnel and their families and the long term unemployed.
Since its foundation, NECS has helped more than 7,100 clients with challenges including depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders. The number of counselling hours provided between July 2006 and April 2016 was 67,062, 7,946 of them delivered out of hours.
Referrals come from a wide range of agencies including Local Authorities, GP Surgeries, Third Sector Organisations and from individuals, and the organisation uses a broad range of specialist counsellors and volunteers to run its service.
Chief Executive Officer and founder Marjorie Hunter said: “We help people to help themselves through inspiring them and our motto is ‘Live your life, don’t just exist.’
“We understand that every individual is totally unique and require their own bespoke support, something we are proud to have offered over the past ten years.”
“In 2009 we evaluated our counselling service which showed the positive impact our service has for an individual, their family, organisations we work with and the benefit to the community and local economy. For each pound invested the return in social value is £3.67.”
Speaking ahead of World Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May), NECS Director Leon Howe said: “We believe that our unique approach to counselling benefits both our clients and ourselves in improving our services. Our data shows that 80% of our clients report an improved sense of wellbeing/emotional health as a direct result of engaging in our service.
“NECS has an incredibly far reaching impact on the lives of the people of Gateshead and South Tyneside and beyond, whether they are clients, volunteers and/or family and friends of those people with whom we have direct contact.”