Charity puts out clarion call for more counsellors in Norfolk

Sue Lambert Trust Shoot, Great Yarmouth, Septmeber 2021

Sue Lambert Trust provides confidential support to victims of sexual assault in Norfolk - Credit: Julian Claxton Photography

The number of rapes and sexual offences being reported in England and Wales is at a record high.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 63,136 rapes recorded in the year to September 2021, up 13% from the previous period. 

These are figures that Norfolk charity Sue Lambert Trust, which has premises in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, understands only too well. Providing therapeutic counselling and support to survivors of rape, sexual violence, and sexual abuse for more than 40 years, in 2022 the charity’s services are in demand more than ever.   

This week the Trust is highlighting national Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. Under the theme #ItsNotOkay, the awareness week aims to encourage all of us to start conversations about sexual abuse and the fact that, with the right help, people can recover and rebuild their lives. 

Sue Lambert Trust provides free therapy and counselling support services to people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse. With a team of 65 professionally qualified and highly experienced counsellors, the charity currently provides weekly counselling support to around 300 people. Hundreds more attend group settings with many more awaiting assessments.  

Clive Evans, chief executive, says that for anyone who feels ready to talk, the charity is ready to listen. “Whether it occurred recently, decades ago or in childhood, Sue Lambert Trust exists to listen and offer support to any adult who has experienced sexual abuse or violence.  

“Through our specialist programmes of one-to-one support and group sessions, we help people to process what has happened to them, build resilience and move forwards to lead a better life. All our services are provided free of charge, by a qualified, clinical team.” 

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Clive continues: “This awareness week gives us an opportunity to say it’s not okay to have to suffer in silence. Rather, speak out, ask for help and talk about what has happened, without any fear of judgement. By helping people open up about the trauma they have experienced, we can help them start to make positive steps and changes. Very often, we might be the first people someone has spoken to, so we want them to know we are on their side.” 

Sue Lambert Trust Shoot, Norwich, Septmeber 2021

Sexual assault victims shouldn't have to suffer in silence - Credit: Julian Claxton Photography

A traumatic experience such as rape, sexual abuse or sexual violence can have a severe impact on many areas of daily life. Clive explain: “Many of us at Sue Lambert have our own lived experiences of sexual abuse and can empathise with the effects of this trauma and understand how living with it can impact on relationships, work, money and of course, mental wellbeing. But we also know that with the right course of therapy, time, patience, and a lot of kindness, you can move forwards.” 

Whilst all Sue Lambert Trust qualified counsellors volunteer their time, it is estimated that the charity needs around £2,000 per year per counsellor to ensure they receive ongoing specialist training, continuous professional development, and clinical support to ensure the very best help is given to clients.

“We can only do what we do thanks to the generous spirit, dedication and kindness shown by our team of counsellors,” says Clive. “They are highly skilled and experienced professionals who give up their time every week to support our clients. Their compassion and the skills they teach really do turn people’s lives around. 

“We understand that it can be nerve-wracking and distressing for someone to pick up the phone and talk openly about what has happened to them. So, when we have to explain that, due to such huge demand for our services, there is a waiting list before the process with us can start, it can be heart-breaking. Whilst we keep in touch with people from the moment they reach out to the moment therapy begins, to reassure them we are here and we are listening, it is imperative that we are able to increase our capacity to start providing counselling support to people within in a few weeks, rather than months. I’d love to be in a position where we have more capacity that we need, but sadly I don’t believe that will ever happen. “

Clive Evans of Sue Lambert Trust

Clive Evans of Sue Lambert Trust - Credit: Julian Claxton Photography

 

So how can Sue Lambert Trust be available for more people, more quickly? 

“It’s very simple, and a familiar story for all charities – it comes down to time and money,” continues Clive. “We need more qualified counsellors to get in touch and join our team of volunteers; people who can dedicate a few hours a week to deliver counselling sessions to help our clients move on positively from the trauma of sexual abuse. It’s important to say that there are professional benefits for counsellors too, as we provide excellent clinical supervision and comprehensive personal development opportunities.

“Like any charity, we rely on funding to deliver our services. And with more money behind us, we can employ more clinical staff to increase capacity and see more clients, sooner. We also have brilliant fundraisers, people who feel personally moved to raise money for us - including Rosie’s Plaques, who have been raising money through the sale of ‘blue badges,’ Mark Thorpe who is being sponsored to run the London Marathon in aid of Sue Lambert Trust, and the UEA cheer society who also support our work. We are incredibly grateful to all of them, and anyone who chooses to fundraise for us.”   

Could you be a Sue Lambert Trust volunteer counsellor? 

If you are a qualified or experienced counsellor and can spare a few hours every week to work with Sue Lambert Trust as a volunteer, please email info@suelamberttrust.org or call 01603 622406.  

Donate  

To make a regular or one-off donation please go to www.suelamberttrust.org call 01603 622406 or give to Mark Thorpe’s London Marathon page at Marks Marathon 2022 - JustGiving