What is counselling?
Counselling gives young people a safe and confidential space to talk about any worries or problems they are experiencing. This can range from stress of exams, bereavement and feeling anxious about situations. Talking things through in a safe setting, with regular appointments over a specific period can help young people gain new and different perspectives. This often leads to changes in how they feel about themselves, their relationships, the way they think and behave.
How does counselling work?
Having thoughts, feelings and fears listened to, explained, or understood by someone who is not directly involved in their life proves hugely beneficial. We know that young people value and benefit having a confidential setting and a regular time to talk. This helps to form and build a trusting relationship with their Counsellor which helps the young person to better understand themselves. Counselling can also enable young people to see other options for moving forwards and with help access support from others if they need it. Sometimes just ‘talking things through’ with a Counsellor can help young people to feel clearer or more confident about putting into action something they had in mind already.
What does a counsellor do?
The Space counsellors are qualified and trained to listen and understand young people; to see things from their viewpoint. As well as listening, counsellors also help young people to clarify their problems or challenges, see patterns in their thinking and/or behaviour and support them to make positive changes if that is what they want. It is important to note that the counsellor’s role is not to give advice or tell young people what to do – their role is to help young people to make their own choices to help equip themselves with tools to cope and build resilience.
Who can come to counselling?
Our service is open to all young people aged 9-18 years living in the Cheddar Valley area.
Is counselling confidential?
Yes, however there are exceptional circumstances when confidentiality needs to be broken and this is clearly explained to the young person at the start of any counselling relationship.
Confidentiality will be broken if the Counsellor believes that a young person is at significant risk of harm to either themselves or others. In these situations, the Counsellor will speak to the Space’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). If we are supporting a young person in a school setting, we will immediately report a concern the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy who will take the necessary action.
What should you do if you think you or if you or if you are a parent/carer may benefit from counselling?
If you feel that you or a young person may benefit from our counselling service, please complete, and return our request for support form. If you are a parent/carer provide either the parent/carer or young person (as appropriate) with a copy of this information and a copy of our Request for Support Form. If you are a parent/carer or health care colleague please note, that to ensure that the young person is agreeable to a request for support to go forward and the ensure a successful outcome we only accept requests for support from the young person themselves or a parent/carer with the young person’s permission. In our experience when a young person comes to our service willingly, they are more receptive to the service. Naturally, there may be occasions when a young person needs help completing the request for support form this is acceptable BUT they must sign the form themselves or agree that you can seek support on their behalf.
Is there a cost to this service?
No. The service is provided free and funded through various funding bodies. We do however rely on the young person and when appropriate parents/carers to help us provide useful information to our funders so they can clearly see the difference our service makes to young people that need our help. To collect this information, we ask the young person to complete a few surveys throughout the counselling period and a case study at the end of the service if they are willing. As the service is free and there is a lot of young people needing our support, we have a clear policy about unattended sessions. Our counsellors outline this at the start of counselling.
How long is the counselling period and when and where do the counselling sessions take place?
We offer all young people a maximum of eight sessions to take place weekly for around 45 minutes per session. When counselling face to face we us various venues but we always use a private, designated room. For our telephone and on-line counselling, we will advise the young person how to keep the discussion safe.
What is the next step?
The Space Telephone Listening Service
Are you a parent/carer or family member living in the Cheddar Valley area concerned about a child or young person’s emotional and mental health and struggling at the moment?
Could you do with some emotional support and/or practical advice or perhaps you just need someone to listen to you?
The Space telephone listening service offers a free, safe, and confidential space for you to talk to and listened to by our trained volunteers who will let you talk through your feelings and concerns without judging you or telling you what to do.
Our free to phone service is not counselling, and we don’t give advice, but we do offer a 45-minute slot for you to talk about anything that is on your mind.
We are not a 24/7 service as we rely on the generosity of our volunteer’s time but there is a facility where you can leave a message and we will get back to you.
0800 999 1872
Our activity programme to date has consisted of rafting, caving, and archery sessions. It is designed to encourage an increase in wellbeing such as self-esteem and confidence as well as inspiring individual development, encouraging communication skills and supporting participants to build trusting relationships. The activities provide opportunities to learn a new skill or improve an existing one and to challenge their abilities. Young people aged 13-18 years are invited to take part in our activity programme during school holidays.
“We had to use teamwork in the cave and had to put in lots of effort as this isn’t for the fainthearted. It was very tight in places and got your heart pumping.”
“I enjoyed everything, and I most enjoyed the challenge and surprise of doing different tasks and working together. The trip was very encouraging both physically and mentally”.
Out of Term Activities
Facilitated by Space volunteers and Young Somerset we hold a weekly youth club in Cheddar once a week. The club is open to young people aged 10-13 years and operates in a welcoming COVID safe ‘space’ at Cheddar Methodist Hall.
The weekly club runs on a Tuesday from 6.30 – 8.30 pm (including half term) and fun activities are facilitated by the staff from Young Somerset supported by Polly our Space volunteer.
Fees are £1 per week to include refreshments.
With the club having finite financial resources we asked local businesses if they wanted to support us by sponsoring the refreshments. Two local businesses came forward. Coffee Zero in Glastonbury/Street and Onpoint Barbers from Cheddar. Our grateful thanks to them and we shall look forward to welcoming them to Friends of The Space.
Fairfield Charitable Trust
Roots and Shoots Community Well-being Garden
Thanks to the pandemic our plans to launch our community well-being garden to local business and the community was put on hold but that didn’t stop us from promoting it to our community. The space will be a community well-being garden to provide a safe and welcome space for children, young people and their families to use gardening as a thereputic tool to improve their physical and mental health. Roots and Shoots will provide opportunities for children, young people, and adults in our community to mix socially, make friends and connect with others to improve their mental well-being. The Space will also link in with our local schools to ensure that our garden is open to all ages.
The garden is being supported by the Rotary Club of Mendip who have made The Space their charity of the year.
Working with Schools
The Space is proud of its positive collaboration with the Wessex Learning Trust and the schools in our area where mutual respect and support is at the heart of our partnership working.
This began back in 2017 when we spearheaded a unique Team Around the Community providing opportunities for our school and community partners to come together to harness the support and services available in our community, to identify gaps and set about filling those gaps.
We have brokered introductions between partners benefitting our schools who have received direct services from a variety of statutory and voluntary community and social enterprise organisations. This has included support from Somerset Partnership Trust’s SHARE project aimed at improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people aged 11 to 18 years, the provision of well-being practitioners via Young Somerset, the delivery of mental health first aid training, talks to students from the Serious and Organised Crime initiative and an exciting future sport and health and well-being project with Somerset Association of Sports Partnerships.
The Space has provided direct support to fund a series of well-being workshops and peer to peer training. We have accessed funding to support the provision of well-being support to children, young people and those that care and educate them and provided mental health awareness training to parents and carers.
Counselling services have been delivered direct to Kings Academy and a pilot service in Hugh Sexey’s Middle School for the younger age group.
Building relationships with the media has resulted in key number of TV/Radio interviews highlighting the issues of children and young people’s emotional and mental well-being raising the profile of The Space and the schools we support.
Future collaboration will be focused on the iThrive pilots
Working in Partnership
The Somerset Children and Young People’s Counselling Alliance
Counselling in Somerset has been provided by a small number of specialist providers (drug, alcohol, eating disorders, mental health) who, in the main, offer counselling as part of their services to support their beneficiaries’ journey to wellness. Historically, VCSE sector providers have offered counselling to adults 18 plus.
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (SCCG) Transformation Plan for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing (2015-2020) states that “there are compelling reasons for changing the way mental health services for children and young people are designed and delivered. A significant factor is “Early intervention avoids young people falling into crisis and avoids expensive and longer-term interventions in childhood and adulthood”.
In response to a SCCG request in May 2020, The Space facilitated a meeting of all providers of counselling services in the County to discuss the benefits to children and young people and commissioners/funders of forming an alliance of counselling providers. Five months on we have an Alliance of credible and experienced counselling organisations operating to a quality assurance framework and currently we are developing protocols to obtain funds for our much-needed network.
Zillah Morris Services Director from Somerset Counselling Centre said:
“Full participation in the emerging Somerset CYP Alliance, led by The Space, is a priority for the Somerset Counselling Centre in the next 12-24 months.
Our thinking is aligned, the need for optimal and mutually beneficial collaboration, as independent charities will grow our voice, influence, and better deliver the reach of our work across the County.
We want to be an influencing and pro-active part of a wider and integrated mental health and wellbeing offer in Somerset-existing and developing.
Raising awareness of what counselling is, the role and benefits of counselling is a key opportunity. Producing a proactive and cohesive group of smaller local charities to attract funding and deliver high quality services is a strength currently absent. This will all result in giving important choice and vital capacity where gaps in provision of emotional wellbeing exist. Watch this space!”
iThrive a framework of getting help and support
We were successful in being chosen by NHS England and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group to pilot a new iThrive Framework to replace the current Community And Mental Health Services Tiers which do not provide the necessary timely support for children and young people needing preventative support. This involves working with our local schools, community groups, other voluntary sector groups, the Police and health and social care colleagues. The pilot sadly is on hold now until we can return to working safely with our colleagues and families.
The local framework will be designed collectively with schools who will focus on a specific theme of support. This will include raising awareness of what positive mental and emotional health looks like and how it can be achieve, information sessions for parents/carers and family members to working with specific children and young people to help them acquire the tools to cope and build resilience.
We work with colleagues from Sedgemoor District and Somerset County Councils, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, the Police, housing associations and a range of voluntary/community groups. The Space delivers contracts for the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group who provide opportunities for us to play a role in helping to make local voices heard.
We invest our time and commitment where they are the most effective. For example: The Big Tent an umbrella under which approved children and young people mental health and emotional wellbeing services will be delivered by the voluntary and community sector in Somerset. The Space is a member of the Big Tent Panel who approves applications for membership.
The Space also engages with various networks and meetings the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group organises including the Mental Health Collaborative Group brining all social, health care and voluntary sector colleagues together. This provides an opportunity to influence as well as share and obtain information on activities/services and access to key individuals.
The Space enjoys excellent relationships with other providers. Regular meetings are held with key organisations that help enhance our services/activities. Our contacts with 80+ organisations enable us to reach a wider audience, have mutual signposting arrangements benefitting all our beneficiaries.