Who we are
For over 25 years, Waterloo Community Counselling (WCC) has provided a socially inclusive counselling service which delivers life-changing support to individuals across London.
We are a charity and one of only a handful of talking therapy services to offer long term therapy at reduced fees, reaching adults from diverse backgrounds who have experienced loss, abuse and trauma. We have always focused on the most disadvantaged, at risk and vulnerable individuals, those who are often unable to access statutory mental health services via the NHS.
Waterloo Community Counselling is going to keep fighting for excellent mental health provision for our communities in 2022 and beyond.
By donating to our Crowdfunder you will help us to reach more people than ever before and in doing so improve the mental health and wellbeing of London's diverse population.
As a community organisation, on the ground floor of a housing estate in central London, we have developed a strong reputation and a wealth of experience in working with London's diverse communities.
We have a proven track record of providing accessible, affordable and effective counselling and psychotherapy to the service users we support.
Our core service offers long term, low cost counselling contracts. Our subsidised counselling fees allow people on low incomes or on benefits to access necessary and affordable talking therapy.
We also run the unique Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service (MECS) which is a specialist mother-tongue counselling service for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. Thanks to our diverse team of counsellors, we are able to offer over 35 languages to our services users and in doing help to improve the mental health and wellbeing of some of London’s most neglected and marginalised communities.
We know that our service works. A recent survey shows that 90% of our service users report that after finishing their counselling with us they felt less isolated and more connected to their community. They have been able to clearly address the issues that brought to counselling and as such they experience improved mental health and wellbeing.
A Country in Crisis
Some would say that the UK is facing a mental health crisis. Rates of depression and anxiety have doubled since the pandemic began, with an estimated 1 in 6 adults in the UK experiencing depression or anxiety in the past week.
Health, social and financial inequalities have deepened greatly over the past two years. Despite increasing levels of poor mental health, reports show that GP diagnoses of depression and other disorders fell by almost a quarter last year. This highlights that access to mental health care is increasingly restricted and reduced.
WCC is acutely aware of the monumental need for mental health support our country faces. As a service over the past couple of years we have never been in higher demand.
In 2020 and 2021, despite the closure of our premises due to the Coronavirus we received close to double the number of referrals we would normally expect. By our estimation demand for the service increased by over 40% across our counselling services.
Last year, in the face of financial constraints and the challenges of remote working we were able of offer over 11,000 hours of high-quality one-to-one counselling to over 580 people. With the NHS struggling to meet the need for mental health support in the post-pandemic landscape, WCC is a much-needed community resource that can deliver life-changing support to individuals from every London borough.
Many of the service users we support are living very difficult lives in challenging and often dangerous situations which have been further exacerbated by Covid-19.
Unfortunately, across both of our counselling services we have seen an increase in the number of referrals who have experienced, physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as persecution due to ethnicity, sexuality, religious or political views.
We have a high proportion of asylum-seeking referrals who have endured multiple traumas in both the UK and their countries of origin, these include human trafficking, modern slavery and torture. Therefore, it is clear that the provision of accessible, affordable, and effective counselling and therapy for the community has never been so important.
We are raising funds to be able to grow the capacity of our vital service and to also allow us to develop new projects and services we can offer our service users. For example, our Monday Meetups Group which is a new project run for our asylum-seeking and refugee service users to meet in a group and engage in fun, interesting and unique activities.
Here’s how your donations will help
£5 – pays for the travel reimbursement for a refugee or asylum-seeker who is coming into the centre to have their session of counselling.
£15 – covers the cost of one service user attending a Monday Meet up group (travel costs, refreshments etc).
£25 – pays for one of our counsellors to conduct a single session of counselling.
£55 – pays for one of our assessors to conduct the initial assessment appointment (1.5 hours) for the service user.
£100 – pays for one of our counsellors to conduct four counselling sessions for a service user.
£300 – pays one of our counsellors to conduct for 12 counselling sessions for a service user.
Feedback from our Service Users
“I believe counselling was very beneficial and helpful, as it made me reflect on my life and evaluate my choices. Listening helped me to become stronger and enabled me to feel good and believe in myself”
“I felt less isolated on the days that I had my sessions. I felt very supported with the care I got from my counsellor. I was able to talk about the important, critical details about my past. I have become very strong with the support I got from my counsellor”
“Talking to someone and making sense of the situation I suffer from. Counselling helped with understanding myself. It helped my anxiety level. It helped my self-confidence”
“You gave me strength, you recognised my good qualities, your appreciation gave me the strength to do well.”
"Thank you very much for being there, you have given me hope that things will change, and that I will not be alone. God sent you.”
“I am very grateful for all the advice you gave me and I would like to say thank you so much. I appreciate everything and I enjoyed the counselling”
Feedback from our professional partners
In our work supporting refugees and asylum seekers were collaborate with numerous local organisations, charities and statutory organisations. We are pleased to have strong relationships with many agencies and as such are able to share some feedback from our work with them.
“During the years of working with WCC/MECS we have found them to offer a high standard of care to the patients that we refer. The referrals we make also tend to be for people who do not necessarily meet our mild to moderate threshold and are therefore complex with a wide range of other difficulties which may include current difficulties with immigration and people with long histories of trauma." - Statutory mental health professional
“When referring vulnerable people who require mother tongue counselling to MECS we have become extremely confident and safe in the knowledge that they will be extremely well supported through the counselling process at Waterloo Community Counselling. It has become second nature to our organisation to ensure that if a person is highly vulnerable and needs mother tongue counselling, that we check if they have yet received support from MECS. In short, MECS has been on numerous occasions a life-saving service for people who visit our day centre and is a bedrock for the migrant support sector in London. Without it, many colleagues and partners that I work with would be extremely concerned about the lack of such a vital service and the detrimental impact it would have on the people and communities we support”- Caseworker from charity that supports asylum-seekers and refugees.
“WCC provides a niche and very important counselling service in London... as there is no other service devoted to meeting the psychological needs of asylum seekers and Black and Minority Ethnic victims of torture. They have a very good understanding of many issues this group of people face and they combined this with their expertise in providing psychological service for these disadvantaged and marginal clients” - Statutory mental health professional.
Registered Charity No. 1045444 • A Company Limited by Guarantee (England & Wales) No. 3034938 • Waterloo Community Counselling is registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) • Member of the BACP