CIVIC dignitaries, health professionals and families turned out in force, eager to get the inside story on a new Lincoln counselling venture, which has got off to a great start.
The co-founders of The Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub (NWCH), Naomi Watkins and Alex Parkin, were delighted at the number of people who flocked to their open day and evening reception.
The women who have recently celebrated a £25,000 grant from The Bromhead Trust, to allow them to help more young people affected by sexual abuse or rape, made the most of a superb opportunity to show guests around the Hub, chat about their services and share just how much their Community Interest Company has achieved in just over six months!
A Gainsborough-area mum also shared how NCWH has made a real difference to her family and Alex (Parkin) read out a letter from a previous client who was keen to tell how NWCH had helped her to feel more like herself again.
More than 35 people popped into the Hub during the day. Thirty more arrived in the evening and the centre’s 20 staff members including two pet therapy dogs, were also in attendance. Guests included family and friends who have supported Naomi and Alex.
Professionals at the evening reception included representatives from Lincolnshire schools, county businesses, Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire County Council, LPFT, the University of Lincoln, counsellors and previous clients.
Lincoln’s Mayor Councillor Chris Burke, City Sheriff Jo Rimmer and the City Sheriff’s Consort Kraig Needs, were among the earliest daytime visitors.
“I am hugely impressed with the vital work that this organisation carries out in meeting the needs of an under-supported and vulnerable part of our community,” said the Mayor, Councillor Burke.
“This environment is highly appropriate and obviously well-designed and focused on putting different client groups at their ease. It is an organisation that should be promoted and funded because of the immense amount of work that still needs to be done.”
The Hub has three, sensitively decorated private rooms, where qualified counsellors offer children, young people, couples and families, the space to safely share their feelings.
NWCH’s youngest patients are helped through a mix of pet therapy, sand tray therapy, play and counselling – all designed to help them to process their emotions, regain their confidence and start to feel part of their community once more.
A mum-of-three from Gainsborough, who has undergone treatment for breast cancer, received support from Team Verrico in Scunthorpe, who helped her to get a second opinion in Harley Street and then signposted her to Naomi, so that her son (eight) and daughter (14) could benefit from funded counselling.
“It is fab here. The children have been for counselling sessions which have given them more stability and allowed them to speak without fear of upsetting me or of any other comeback. There has been a positive knock-on effect for the whole family,” she said.
The woman praised Naomi for following-up the counselling sessions with a telephone call to check how her family was doing.
Alex and Naomi, who told guests how they had created the Hub after spotting a gap in the market, said they were hugely grateful for the wealth of support they have received.
Alex said: “The day was amazing. We couldn’t have asked for better support from everyone who attended. The atmosphere was just great, right through to the end.”
“We are so grateful for everything our friends, family members and our team members do to help NWCH to grow and go from strength to strength. We look forward to helping more people within the local community in the future.
Naomi added: “Not only was our open day a real success. We had lots of enquiries and people kept saying they were very impressed with our premises. In addition, lots of people echoed our own thoughts, that a service like ours is exactly what Lincolnshire needs.”