Charity grant means low-cost 4Cs counselling group can expand their service

Kathryn Habershon, director of 4Cs Counselling Service, with the laptop they bought with Comic Relie

Kathryn Habershon, director of 4Cs Counselling Service, with the laptop they bought with Comic Relief money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A service offering low-cost counselling is providing support for those who need it and would be unable to access support otherwise.

4Cs - Centres for Christian Care and Counselling, based at Norwich Central Baptist Church in Duke Street, has been running for more than 20 years.

And two years ago the charity's current director Kathryn Habershon came on board - after having worked for the organisation on her placement when it first started out.

'We provide counselling for the community which is easy to access, and affordable,' Mrs Habershon said.

'It's important because if you go with the NHS you could be waiting for months, but if you need counselling then you need it as soon as possible.'

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The service has 12 volunteer counsellors based in Norwich, with others in Dereham, King's Lynn and Aylsham.

And in the city they see around 40 clients a week, who donate what they can afford towards their counselling - this can be as little as £5.

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Mrs Habershon said: 'Even though we are a Christian organisation, that doesn't mean we exclude anyone, we have referrals from all over including the wellbeing service, and lots of self-referrals.'

She said clients came to 4Cs for issues such as past trauma or abuse, parenting, relationship breakdown, anxiety, depression, low self worth, domestic violence, addictions , depression, anxiety and bereavement.

Last year, a £500 grant from Comic Relief meant the group could buy a laptop, with the rest put towards supervision and expenses.

Mrs Habershon said the laptop meant she could work from home, or other rooms, to give clients more privacy. And one of the service's volunteer counsellors, who wanted to be known only as Sarah, said covering her supervision costs were essential.

'If I had to find that money myself I don't know if I could afford to volunteer my time,' she said.

• Deserving community groups shared almost £40,000 in charity cash last year, distributed by this newspaper in association with the Norfolk Community Foundation and Comic Relief – and this year we've teamed up again. If your group would benefit from a grant of up to £1,000, more details will be announced on March 24.

Clients' views

One woman, aged between 26-35, said: 'When I came to counselling for the first time I felt I had no control over my life, that I couldn't make any decision myself.'

But she said the sessions were helpful particularly because it meant 'understanding I was in control and it was okay to stand up for myself and not allow family members control me.'

Another woman, who was over 66, said: 'It was helpful to understand how hurtful it was to talk about some big issues in my life and the gradual way I was brought to talk about them.'

A male client, also aged over 66, added: 'It gave me the opportunity to talk through my difficulties.

'And perhaps get a better understanding and perspective on them.

'However there are feeling which I still struggle with and may not resolve in the short term, and which perhaps time and the passage of life may ultimately help me come to terms with.'

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