More than 75 people made NWCH (Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub) first birthday celebrations extra memorable by raising more than nearly £1,200 for its life-changing work.

Impressed guests, who attended the NWCH party at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Lincoln, dug deep in support of a bumper raffle, then topped it off with further donations – raising £1,190 to help the Community Interest Company to counsel more people in distress.

Diners warmly applauded the Hub’s work and its recent expansion, at the end of an outstanding year during which co-founders Naomi Watkins and Alex Parkin had already received two lots of grant aid and been forced to expand into a second building to meet the sheer demand for their counselling and training services.

During the special evening, which was attended by Lincoln Mayor Councillor Chris Burke, the city’s Mayoress Coun Sue Burke and Sheriff Jo Rimmer, Naomi and Alex showed a video and explained how the Hub’s team is working with both children to adults to change lives.

Guests listened intently as a mum-of-three gave a personal testimony of how the Hub had helped her children through a difficult period after she was diagnosed with cancer.  Other testimonies were also read out.

Naomi said: “It was a really wonderful evening and we were blown away with the amount of money raised by the generously-supported raffle and donations.

“This will be ploughed back into our projects, because we are determined to improve as many lives as possible. These funds will be targeted on our Acorn Project, to help young people between the ages of four and 18 years old, who have suffered sexual abuse or rape.

“It will also assist our work with Scunthorpe-based Team Verrico, for whom we provide counselling to families facing cancer and our work with Sophie’s Journey, where we offer group therapy to parents who have lost children to cancer.”

NWCH has grown to boast a 25-strong team, which includes 18 counsellors, and is based out of two adjacent units on the Allenby Business Village, off Monks Road, in Lincoln.

It recently appointed team member and counsellor Charlie Blackwell as the Hub’s Business Development Manager. In addition to continuing to offer one-to-one support to clients, he will be helping to develop the training arm of the company.

Within the first six months of trading, Naomi and Alex celebrated a £25,000 grant from The Bromhead Medical Charity, which NWCH is using to provide free counselling to young people and children, whose lives have been blighted by sexual abuse or rape.

Local sexual abuse services have been encouraged to signpost children and young people in need to the service, where they are offered a mixture of pet therapy, sand tray therapy, play and counselling to help them to process their emotions and regain their confidence. 

News of a £60,000 “super boost” came in February, which allowed NWCH to double the size of the Lincoln Hub, spelling even better news for clients and fellow professionals.

That funding, which was awarded by The Key Fund, unlocked Naomi and Alex’s dream of creating more counselling rooms, which they have now done, and also lease a second building for use as a dedicated training centre.

The training centre will generate further income to help ensure the future sustainability of NWCH.