In 2017 NWCH was founded to help support the local community with their mental health and wellbeing. We are, on occasion, mistaken for a charity, however, we are in fact a Community Interest Company (CIC).
A CIC, as the name suggests is a social enterprise that exists to benefit the community rather than shareholders. A CIC is still a limited company, but its objectives are to offer services or to benefit the community in a certain way.
To become a CIC, we were required to submit a community interest statement, to outline what we intended to do, with particular reference to how our services will benefit the community. Once set up, we then had the responsibility to undertake activities to fulfil our purpose in accordance with the statement. This information is in the public domain, and should anyone wish to find the statement they can do so on Companies House.
The directors at NWCH identified a huge gap in the counselling support that is provided to young people in particular. We wanted to provide a service that, unlike many others within the area, offers a safe, secure and consistent environment for young people to access counselling and begin to rebuild their lives.
Our main goal is to provide a central hub to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, adults, families and couples within Lincolnshire – including;
- Young people in abusive relationships
- Young parents
- Young people who have experienced sexual abuse or rape
- Families who are facing cancer
Unlike a charity, a CIC is restricted in terms of the funding they can apply for. Although there are restrictions – there are funding opportunities available and within the first year NWCH received funding for their Acorn Project – which helped young people between the ages of four and 18 years old, who have suffered sexual abuse or rape.
The Acorn Project was made possible with the help of grants and donations from The Key Fund and Bromhead Medical Charity. The hub has also received grants from The National Lottery and more recently The Police Crime Commissioner. The hub also receives donations from local businesses in the form of monetary donations or help with services as well as from the general public. These donations are gratefully received and within the confines of the CIC are used for specific projects or development of the hub’s facilities. Unlike a charity, the funds that we receive are usually allocated to a specific purpose. As a CIC, NWCH is bound by an ‘asset lock’, this is a legal promise that the company’s assets will only be used for its social objectives.
A CIC is a social enterprise that can trade and offer services to the public. We offer counselling services at a cost, but we also provide counselling to those who are most in need and who, without this help would not be able to access services that they desperately need. We do this either by funding sessions through projects like the Acorn project or helping clients access funding, through the Bromhead charity.
Whilst it is not mandatory, to show accountability we have a board of directors, which is made up of 1 director and 3 non-executive directors. We also have a team of panel members who hold the directors accountable as well as offering valuable opinions around their own areas of expertise.
We hope this blog has helped you to understand our situation as a CIC. Ultimately we want to help as many people in our community as possible. We employ only experienced, qualified and registered counsellors who have the skills and knowledge to really help those in need. By receiving grants and donations we can continue to provide counselling services to the people of Lincolnshire who otherwise would not be able to access the help they desperately need.
If you would like to donate you can do so here https://nwcounsellinghub.co.uk/donations/