Counselling centre directors and staff have their fingers firmly-crossed for success after clearing the first hurdle in a high-profile competition!
The team at the NWCH CIC (Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub) were thrilled to learn it had been shortlisted in two categories in the hotly-contested Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards.
Now staff are hoping to beat off the competition and impress the judges of the Start-up of the Year and Innovation in Healthcare categories at the glittering event, taking place at the Lincolnshire Showground on June 7.
Co-founders and Directors Naomi Watkins and Alex Parkin, along with Business Development Manager Charlie Blackwell and Office Manager Sally Watkins decided the Hub should throw its hat into the ring after it celebrated a highly-successful first year in business.
A proactive user of digital technologies - with a lively website and active social media presence - the Hub has received more than 393 referrals from charity organisations, schools, Macmillan nurses and other medical professionals since opening its doors.
Naomi said: “We got off to a fantastic start, supported by strong financial backing and growing demand for our services. That allowed us to develop a professional hub, now staffed by a team of 26, including 18 counsellors, and also expand into a second building on the city’s Allenby Industrial Estate.
“The Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards has attracted more than 120 entries and we are among a shortlist of 60 entrants chasing 20 different category accolades.
“We like to think that we are innovative and tuned-in to people’s individual needs. In addition to having six uniquely decorated therapy rooms, designed to make young people, adults and disabled clients feel relaxed – we offer “out of the box” counselling, featuring walks in the city’s Arboretum. We also have two very popular pet therapy dogs who work with clients
Colleague Alex Parkin said: “Although we have already achieved so much, we are determined to continue evolving. We are delighted to reveal that, from September we shall be using our newest building to offer other people Levels 2 and 3 (Certificate) and Level 4 (Diploma) in Counselling Skills training under the national recognised AIM Awards.”
Within the first six months of trading, Naomi and Alex won a £25,000 grant from The Bromhead Medical Charity, which the Hub is using to provide free counselling to young people and children whose lives have been blighted by sexual abuse or rape.
Sexual abuse services locally have been encouraged to signpost children and young people in need to the Hub. Pet therapy, along with sand tray therapy, other play and counselling are used to help distressed youngsters to regain their confidence.
In February this year, the Hub celebrated a £60,000 boost from The Key Fund – which meant the directors were able to create more counselling space and lease a second building for NWCH’s new training centre.
Business Development Manager Charlie Blackwood (whose post is funded by The Key Fund) added: “The generosity of the guests at our recent First Birthday celebrations means we raised a further £1,900 which has been ploughed back into our Acorn Project, which is making a difference in helping young people from the age of four to 18 years old, who have suffered sexual abuse.
“We are determined to continue building on our services and to share our expertise with other people who want to develop their careers within the counselling sector.”
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