Counselling offers a safe space when life events become overwhelming and the opportunity to explore feelings and inner thoughts; it is non-judgemental, confidential and individual.
Affordable Counselling Epping Forest (ACEF) offers weekly one to one sessions lasting 50 minutes to individuals over the age of eighteen living or working in the local area. It offers support to those who may feel they are struggling to cope or simply would like a place to be heard, those who come may struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, relationship issues, bereavement and stress. Each client has up to eight sessions, with any extension to be reviewed by the Trustees. The minimum cost is £5 per session. ACEF’s counsellors are experienced, professional, accredited (or working towards accreditation) with BACP and compassionate.
Initial counselling sessions were offered at The Box in Epping which provided accommodation for three sessions a week. While these continue, since March 2016 ACEF also delivered six weekly sessions at Hazelwood Children’s Centre, Ninefields, prioritising referrals of clients with children under five, so nine counselling hours per week. To date ACEF has delivered approximately 600 sessions and seen 72 clients, 42 at The Box and 30 at Hazelwood. The clients come from all parts of Epping Forest and some from Harlow, with 35 per cent coming from Waltham Abbey. Evaluation forms are completed by most clients and they show high levels of satisfaction with the service they have received. The majority demonstrate that levels of anxiety and depression are reduced at the end of counselling.
Core funding for the services comes from a Trust Fund, held by the Chelmsford diocese; the annual interest of £9,000 supports six of the nine sessions weekly of low cost counselling. ACEF is a charity and relies on the generosity of all who work with the organisation, local churches, and individual supporters to help fund its operational costs.
ACEF is planning a Celebration Evening on Tuesday 7th November at 7.30 pm at The Box (St John’s Road, Epping, CM16 5DN). The evening will comprise a report on the work of Affordable Counselling thus far and a talk by Dr Diana Lowry, retired GP and Reader at St John’s Church, Epping, “Meeting Mental Health Needs in the Community”. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome to this event.
Please pray during November for the healing work of Affordable Counselling Epping Forest in our community and consider a donation to ensure the continuation and development of that work. Thank you.