A long-standing counselling service has been relaunched under a new name, to reflect the scope of its work.
Offington Counselling Service became Worthing Counselling Centre on Wednesday, with a talk and quiz, timed to coincide with Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week.
Anna Hayward, who became head of centre just over a year ago, said: “This long-established and trusted charity which has quietly been serving the community of Worthing for almost 35 years is launching a new identity to raise awareness of its scale and the support it provides.
“Over the years, we have provided ongoing counselling for more than 5,000 people, so we want to make sure that we are a visible, well-recognised local point of access for emotional support.”
The charity offers fast-access counselling for those who do not want to wait and financially-supported counselling if cost could be a barrier. One new feature is the bursary, which will be available on a limited basis to those who cannot afford the minimum fee.
There are 21 counsellors based at Offington Park Methodist Church, with most sessions taking place in dedicated counselling rooms above the adjoining Allan Fletcher Hall, in South Farm Road, Worthing.
Sarah Piper, one of the counsellors, said: “The name Offington Counselling Service never really captured the work we were doing and that we were the main counselling service in the area.
“We cover Worthing and the wider area and people can self refer or be signposted by their GP or other agencies. It is not time limited, it is open ended.”
Counselling is taken up by people from all walks of life and of all ages, from 16 upwards.
Anna explained: “Sometimes significant life changes or events, such as bereavement, trauma or work or relationship difficulties, prompt a sense of being unable to cope. Or sometimes it is simply knowing that things aren’t ‘right’.
“Counselling provides the opportunity to talk and explore to find a way forward, with a counsellor who listens without judging.
“As a charity, there is always the need to fundraise and build expertise within our trustee team. As we relaunch, if you have used our service or are interested in what we do and would like to give back or make a contribution, we would love to hear from you.”
The service is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
For infomration about counselling, telephone 01903 212275 or visit www.worthingcounsellingcentre.org