Naomi plans the trip of a lifetime!

Successful Lincoln counsellor Naomi Watkins is over the moon after scooping a highly prestigious research award!

Naomi, who is Chief Executive of the phenomenally busy NWCH (Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub) is thrilled to be among 150 privileged people across the UK honoured to receive a Churchill Fellowship.

And she is going to use her grant, from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, to visit Australia and New Zealand to carry out a six-weeks research project into suicide prevention.

Churchill Fellowships offer UK citizens a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel the world and research cutting-edge global solutions to important topical issues and explore innovative ideas and best practice in a practical subject of their choice.  The average grant is £6,000.

The Fellowships address contemporary issues, develop knowledge leaders and offer transformative opportunities to outstanding individuals.

“I am excited to be one of just 150 people to receive one of this year’s Fellowships. They attract a lot of competition.  I was one of 1,800 applicants, out of which just 250 people were interviewed before the final 150 were chosen,” said Naomi.

“I am planning to travel in May and my grant will cover my flights, accommodation and other essentials.

“I am keen to use my trip to carry out important research into suicide prevention, specifically for children and younger adults in the four-to-30 years old age group.  At NWCH we counsel people of all ages, but would like to run special projects designed to help troubled children in this category. I shall be researching ways of spotting signs of a person’s ideation or intention of ending their life by suicide.

“Many people think suicide mainly affects older adults, but there has been a rise in the number of younger people driven to end their own lives by suicide for various reasons. Suicide is the leading cause of death for 5-19yrs old (England ONS, 2018).

“This is a tragedy and, as counsellors, we are determined to do all we can to prevent this from happening,” said Naomi.

“I am looking forward to sharing my research findings with my colleagues at NWCH, where we have a team of 19 counsellors, six support staff and two therapy dogs.”

Naomi added that NWCH, which recorded 803 referrals for help since it started out in 2017 – and currently 500 appointments on its books every week – believes her research findings will also help to inform the Community Interest Company’s Suicide Prevention Conference, which is taking place at The Showroom in Lincoln on September 10 – World Suicide Day.

2nd Birthday Event – March 2019

Nearly 90 people who attended a celebration dinner in Lincoln heard how counsellors have been working with more than 580 people over the past year – including nearly 200 children.

And diners at the Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub CIC’s (NWCH) 2nd Birthday Dinner at The Double Tree Hotel, were held rapt as the Hub’s Chief Executive Naomi Watkins and fellow co-founder Alex Parkin shared how staff have been transforming young lives blighted by sexual abuse, rape, family break-up and loss.


Naomi, whose Community Interest Company also helps adults, couples and families, – also told of how funding for special programmes specifically designed to help young people, is coming to an end. Diners had the chance to help the Hub to turn more young lives around by supporting a huge raffle.

Impressed guests, who heard about success stories, including a first-hand account from a man brought back from the brink of suicide, generously supported the raffle and raised £1,321 for NWCH’s continuing work.

“We have a high rate of people ending their lives by suicide in Lincolnshire and some of them are young people,” said Naomi.

“We had over 266 referrals in our first year and 585 in our second year, giving us a total of 851 clients.  Last year we also received £75,000 in funding – including £40,000 from The Key Fund, £25,000 from The Bromhead Medical Charity and £10,000 from The National Lottery.

“Nearly 200 children were referred to us and nearly 400 adults in the last year, with issues ranging from grief and loss, family dynamics, sexual abuse, low self-esteem, anger, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

“We are running two schemes dedicated to our work with Young People. The Acorn Project which supports those aged 4 to 18-years-old is funded by The Bromhead Medical Trust.  The Snowdrop Project, for those aged 4 to 25-years-old is funded by the National Lottery. Both allow funded counselling for Lincolnshire child victims of sexual abuse and rape.

“While we have received an extension to our existing £25,000 grant from The Bromhead Medical Trust and £10,000 from the National Lottery, both projects are full – and we have waiting lists. There is a huge need for our service and we need help to keep them funded, so I want to thank everyone who has supported our fundraising so generously tonight.”

On the theme of suicide prevention, Naomi is thrilled to have recently been awarded a prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship and she will be travelling to Australia and New Zealand the end of this month to research this area of the Hub’s work.

Last year NWCH hosted its ManChat Conference at The Showroom in Lincoln, which was attended by more than 100 people with top-flight speakers.  This year, the CIC, will be returning to The Showroom for another conference – themed around Suicide Prevention and will be help on World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th September 2019.


National Citizen Service participants from Lincoln College, who have been working on a project for NWCH – where they have been researching what students’ and members of the public’s experience of mental health issues are – were also applauded at the Birthday Dinner and presented with medals and certificates.

This year has seen the Counselling Hub expand and create three more private rooms, giving it a total of nine counselling spaces.  It has also taken on 10 new members of staff – now its 27-strong team includes 19 counsellors and two much-loved therapy dogs.

The CIC, which also offers training for aspiring counsellors, receives its client referrals from charity organisations, schools, mental health services, GPs, social services, drug and alcohol services, the Probation Service and many other medical professionals.

The Hubs Directors (L-R), Charlie Blackwell (BDM), Nadine Daubney, Naomi Watkins (Co-Founder & CEO), Ben Wright, Miles Scudamore and Alex Parkin (Co-Founder).

View all the pictures here