Spalding-based counselling charity to close down after 11 years
A volunteer-run counselling charity supported by churches in Spalding is to close down this summer after 11 years.
Spalding Listening and Counselling Centre (Space4U) will see its last clients in July after both chairman, Captain Paul Whiteley, and counselling coordinator Frances Garland announced their intention to stand down.
According to its annual report, Space4u held 330 sessions and saw 52 prospective clients between March 2017 and February 2018.
Mrs Garland said: “I need to move out of the area, Paul is moving on to different things and there’s not the people to do it.
“We’ve had around 14 trainee counsellors who have worked with us, and stayed with us for a while on placement, who have gone on to work in other settings.
“Our main meeting place has always been at Broad Street Methodist Church, but for a while we also met on Monday evenings at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck.
“It’s amazing that we’ve been going for nearly 11 years and all the people who have given their time this service really have made a difference in a lot of lives.”
Mrs Garland used her experience as a qualified counsellor to set up Space4u in 2007, with support from St Mary and St Nicolas, St John the Baptist, Broad Street Methodist and Spalding United Reformed Churches.
She said: “I was involved in something else at the time and having seen a lot of clients privately, I realised there was a need for a counselling service in Spalding.
“I spoke to my husband, the Reverend Peter Garland, the then Vicar of Spalding, the Very Reverend Tim Barker, and Spalding Rotary Club who were all very, very suuportive, as was Methodist minister the Reverend David Curran.
It’s amazing that we’ve been going for nearly 11 years and all the people who have given their time this service really have made a difference in a lot of lives
“We were very lucky at the beginning because our first chairman, Philip Brassington, was a very experienced social worker who knew the process and law around counselling services.
“I was also training counsellors in Peterborough and they needed placements as they were coming to the end of their courses.
“I’d seen Space4u work in other places where counsellors could provide a really valuable service and I’m sad that it’s ending on July 31.”
The range of issues dealt with by Space4u’s five counsellors have included anxiety, depression, physical illness, bereavement and abuse, with clients aged from teenagers to people in their 80s.
Mrs Garland said: “If I had my time again, I’d really have like to do more for non-British clients, although we had a few from eastern Europe and Portugal.
“The age range of our clients has been huge but I wish we could have been more accessible to more people.
“I hope and pray that the Spalding area will find another source of accessible counselling and therapy because if someone could find a way of organising it and running it ethically, that would be wonderful.”