Counselling centre in Sudbury reaches referral milestone

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge with Sara Jackson (centre) and Chris Boatwright of the Kernos Centr

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge with Sara Jackson (centre) and Chris Boatwright of the Kernos Centre in Sudbury last year. Picture: SIMON PARKER

A centre in Sudbury which offers free counselling to people with emotional, mental health or psychological problems has seen more than 3,000 clients referred since it first opened.

The Kernos Centre, in Friars Street, opened in April 2003 and has reached the milestone of more than 3,000 referrals to its services for people ranging in age from five to 93 in the last 14 years.

More than a third of those referrals have been children and young people, and the centre aims to fill the gaps in statutory provision in the town and surrounding areas.

The centre, which began with three counsellors treating 78 clients in its first year, now has a team of 12 qualified professional counsellors helping more than 300 people each year to achieve long-term, sustainable health and well-being outcomes.

The centre is a registered charity and is funded entirely by voluntary donations, client contributions, grants from local parish councils, Suffolk County Council, Babergh District Council and the Suffolk Community Foundation.

Sudbury Town Mayor Sarah Page has chosen to support the centre as one of her charities during her term of office – which runs until May 2018.

Annabel Wyatt, administrator and trained counsellor at the centre, said: “The milestone is incredible and just shows how much of a need there is for our services.

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“The NHS waiting list is so incredibly long, we have been getting more and more people referred to us.

“You wouldn’t want to wait six months to deal with a broken leg and it’s the same for mental health problems.”

The charity was awarded a funding boost of £10,000 last year after submitting an application to the Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Fund.

The fund was developed by West Suffolk and Ipswich and East clinical commissioning groups along with Suffolk County Council.

It is managed by the Suffolk Community Foundation.

Ms Wyatt said: “It’s made a big difference but we’ve easily got through it given the demand.

“But it has made a huge difference to our clients and their lives and allowed us to ensure that those most in need receive the appropriate and effective help regardless of resources.”

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