How a counselling service has been helping residents in and around Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth for more than 10 years

Lyn Smailes - centre manager at New Hope CounsellingLyn Smailes - centre manager at New Hope Counselling
Lyn Smailes - centre manager at New Hope Counselling
The charity has adapted how it helps its clients through the pandemic and lockdowns

A counselling service that has helped people across south Warwickshire is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

New Hope Counselling, which has a main base at 70 Saltisford in Warwick, was founded in April 2011.

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As well as having a Warwick base, New Hope also provides counselling sessions in at KMC in Kenilworth and also at Lifeways in Stratford. Prior to 2011 it was operating for five years as a satellite service for another counselling organisation based in Coventry called The Light House.

Speaking about what the charity does, Lyn Smailes, centre manager at the Warwick site, said: "New Hope is a Christian charity based in Warwickshire offering confidential and affordable counselling to any who are in need within the local area, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation or faith, to find solutions and discover new hope for the future.

"Our vision is to provide an affordable counselling service available for all in Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford and the surrounding areas.

"We aim to keep our costs low by using voluntary help where possible and having the support of a number of local churches and grant awarding trusts.

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"Our counselling costs us £35 per session to deliver - we ask clients looking for one-to-one counselling to contribute what they can towards this."

Since the organisation became a charity, New Hope has helped nearly 2,000 people.

Lyn said: "We have provided 1,905 clients with counselling support. Over 50 per cent of all of our referrals come from NHS sources - mainly the IAPT service.

"We receive no funding from the NHS for the work we do.

"Everyone who contacts us is given a telephone initial assessment within two weeks. They then usually have a wait before we are able to allocate them to a counsellor.

"The maximum wait time is currently around two months.

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"We also provide placement opportunities for many trainee counsellors currently completing courses in counselling and psychotherapy. Our team consists of 43 counsellors 24 of whom are trainees on placement."

Like many other charities, New Hope was also hit by the pandemic but the team continued to support their clients.

In April 2020 we could no longer safely use our premises in Warwick for counselling purposes or as an office", said Lyn. "We therefore closed the building and all staff worked from home.

"We wanted to continue to offer support to our clients so we decided to offer them counselling by telephone or via zoom.

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"Most of our counselling team had not counselled remotely before so we had to provide them with adequate training to do this safely and ethically.

"By July 2020 90 per cent of our team were working with clients remotely. By the autumn all of them were back working with clients.

"The administration and co-ordination of this was highly demanding on our paid staff all of whom work part-time. We all put in many extra voluntary hours to make sure the needs of our clients and our counselling team were met. "

As well as finding ways to adapt its service, New Hope were also hit financially by the pandemic but did receive some support.

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Lyn said: "We did receive some welcome Covid-related funding from local and national grant awarding bodies which helped us survive financially.

"Saltisford Church, who own the premises we rent in Warwick, also generously gave us a long rent holiday.

"We had to cancel three fundraising initiatives in 2020 due to Covid and we are still struggling to find venues for fundraising events we would like to hold in 2022.

"Since April 2021 we have gradually returned to working with clients face to face at our three bases in Warwick, Kenilworth and Stratford.

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"We have discovered during the pandemic that some clients actually prefer a remote service so they can receive the therapy from their homes.

"We are now able to work with those who are housebound for whatever reason whether through disability, agoraphobia or because they are carers for young children or for elderly relatives.

"This has therefore been an unexpected positive outcome from the pandemic."

The charity is also looking for support going forward,

Lyn added" If anyone would like to support us to help ensure our much needed work continues they can contact me at [email protected]

"We are looking for regular givers, partnerships with local businesses and new trustees."

For more information about New Hope go to: