Lancaster counselling service in plea for new home

Linda Chapman a therapist from Access Counselling, based at Trinity Community Centre, Lancaster. They are looking for a new home after the church has decided to sell the building. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday September 11, 2017.
Linda Chapman a therapist from Access Counselling, based at Trinity Community Centre, Lancaster. They are looking for a new home after the church has decided to sell the building. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday September 11, 2017.

A vital support group which helps people with mental health problems is desperately seeking a new home after being told it cannot remain at its current premises.

Access Counselling Service is a not-for-profit community interest company based in Trinity Community Centre in Middle Street.

The service has been in place for six years, and up to 50 per cent of its referrals now come from the NHS.

However, therapist and director Linda Chapman says the service has now been told that the building, owned by United Reformed Church, is being sold – yet they cannot afford any other premises in Lancaster city centre.

“We are all volunteers doing this service for the community and we need help to keep going,” Linda said.
“Clients pay what they can afford which helps to just about cover the rent. We can’t find any other property in Lancaster near what we can afford. We are just a bunch of counsellors trying to do our best for the community, but the 
service is run on a shoestring.”

The group is hoping to find someone to help with funding to keep the service up and running.

They currently support around 100 children and young people with mental health issues aged from six upwards, working closely with other mental health services and peer support.

“We don’t turn anyone away if we can help them,” Linda said.

“If we could buy the building we could keep it on as a community centre being used by other groups as well as ourselves.

“It could be a real part of the community.

Trinity Community Centre were unavailable for comment as the Guardian went to press.

Anyone who can help can contact Access Counselling service at http://access-counselling-cic.co.uk/ or on Facebook at @affordablecounselling or on Twitter at @WeWillHearYou