Support to help 30-year-old counselling service survive through pandemic

From left to right: India Kirby, Lisa Burnett, Annette Warns, Jayne Woodcock and Lois King,. Off th

From left to right: India Kirby, Lisa Burnett, Annette Warns, Jayne Woodcock and Lois King,. Off the Record charity raising funds to remain open. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

A counselling service that has been supporting people to access support for over three decades is needing to raise £2,500 to keep its service running.

From left to right: Annette Warns, Lisa Burnett, Lois King, Jayne Woodcock and India Kirby. Off the

From left to right: Annette Warns, Lisa Burnett, Lois King, Jayne Woodcock and India Kirby. Off the Record charity raising funds to remain open. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

Off the Record, based in Norwich, has launched a Crowdfunder after seeing a “noticeable reduction” in their income due to the pandemic.

The charity has been based out of the doctors’ surgery in Trinity Road since 1981 and offers low cost sessions to people unable to access support.

Sessions are available as long as a person needs, with the team covering a broad range of issues including relationship problems, sexual and domestic abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression.

India Kirby, manager of the centre, said: “We have struggled to pay the rent for rooms that we couldn’t use as the lockdown and social distancing became the new normal.


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“All our counselling has had to be done remotely and we have lost a significant number of clients who simply don’t want to work that way.

“We are struggling to come back to working face to face with our clients and our income remains impacted by this.”

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Lois King, who joined the charity as a councillor over a year ago said she felt passionate to try and keep the service going.

Miss King said: “They offer unlimited sessions. What you find with alot of other counselling services in Norfolk what they are doing is time limited, you can six sessions, 10 sessions.

“They have the possibility to continue as long as they need.

Miss King said: “We moved all of services online and it worked really well.

“One challenge is not being able to initially to pick up on body language which is such an important part of counselling. They didn’t have a private place to speak, they didn’t have the technology.”

Returning to Trinity Road would allow face to face appointments to resume, but the charity would still have to see less clients due to social distancing.

“The more rooms we use the more we pay,” said Miss King.

Off the Record grew out of the Norwich Action Group on Drugs which was founded in 1967, and established as the Off the Record Advisory Service in 1975.

To donate visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-keep-otr-counselling-service-open-1#start

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