In this unprecedented crisis our service is more in demand than ever. Due to the pandemic, counselling has had to change its whole face overnight. We have adapted our service to provide people – in vulnerable positions – support either online or by telephone. Whilst we have embraced this, it presents huge challenges to our volunteer counsellors who are required to work in an entirely different way.
We are in need of urgent financial support to ensure that all our volunteer counsellors receive the necessary training and employ additional telephone support counsellors to meet the emotional needs and to provide the best service to those in need in these challenging times.
Historically, we have always offered low cost counselling, and our income is generated almost entirely from client donations. Now that so many people are facing financial difficulty, we anticipate our income will be significantly reduced which impacts our day to day running costs as well as our capacity to offer counselling. Help us to help our community.
Prior to the pandemic we were planning to raise £25,000 per year for the next 5 years to expand our services and offer more counselling to more people in Winchester and wider community.
We are now faced with the unprecedented challenge of adapting and expanding our service whilst relying on a significantly reduced financial footing. As such, our focus has changed. We are seeking to raise a minimum of £10,000 immediately which will enable us to meet our most pressing needs; training our volunteer counsellors and increasing the number of online counselling sessions and emotional telephone support we can offer to those experiencing mental crisis.
If we raise anything above the minimum target of £10,000 it will go towards achieving our longer term strategy to raise £25,000 to expand our services.
- £5 gives immediate emergency emotional support to callers.
- £20 offers an online space to be heard, feel connected and given coping strategies.
- £100 ensures 5 weeks of support to anyone who is alone, self-isolating or grieving in our local community.
- £1,000 will make a difference to 50 people in crisis.
- £10,000 ensures we have enough resources to support up to 300 people with mental health issues, and maintain our vital service to the community during lockdown and into the future.
The Olive Branch has been offering affordable, professional counselling to the people of Winchester and surrounding areas since 1997. The charity offers a unique service - it has one of the largest number of volunteer counsellors in the area, and it is one of the few organisations in the UK to offer long-term therapy. All our counsellors are volunteers and are either fully qualified or working towards completing training. The issues that they are presented with vary in complexity and include anxiety, depression, relationship issues, bereavement, trauma, addictions and domestic violence. We have many, many testimonies to show the value of the work which we have done in the past 23 years, and are proud of the fact that the service we offer really does have the potential to change people’s lives for the better.
Our records prove that our ethos and our system of long-term counselling works. We want to build on what we are doing already - but to do it even better and help more people!
Over the past 5 years our statistics show:
- We have seen 1605 clients.
- 61% of clients are from zero or low-income backgrounds.
- 99% tell us that counselling positively impacted their life.
- 54% of our clients experienced anxiety or depression.
- This figure has risen to 80% in 2019.
For further information please visit www.theolivebranch.org.uk