Vital Edinburgh charity counselling service faces closure if £80,000 is not raised as demand soars due to Covid-19 impact

The charity have helped those in need of counselling for 25 years in north east EdinburghThe charity have helped those in need of counselling for 25 years in north east Edinburgh
The charity have helped those in need of counselling for 25 years in north east Edinburgh
An Edinburgh-based charity that has provided a crucial counselling service for more than 25 years is facing closure if it does not meet an £80,000 funding shortfall, after it was not possible to secure further funding from Edinburgh City Council.

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North East Edinburgh Counselling Service (NEECS) offers professional counselling to anyone over the age of 16 living in the north east of the Capital. The charity provides an alternative to long NHS waiting lists and private counselling services, the cost of which can be prohibitive for many.

Due to the devastating effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the mental wellbeing of many, demand for the service has greatly increased. There are currently 50 people on its waiting list.

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As a charity, NEECS relies on grants, fundraising activities and client contributions, which range from £5 to £45 depending on what each client can afford. It was previously funded by the council until November 2019.

The charity has now set up a JustGiving page to secure its future helping those in need in the local community.

The pandemic has meant alternative funding sources are scarce and the charity must now raise £80,000 to meet its financial shortfall and continue to provide an essential service to the local community.

NEECS supports people with a wide range of mental health needs. Waiting lists for counselling services on the NHS can be up to two years, so the service that NEECS offers makes counselling more accessible for people who require direct and urgent support with their mental health.

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The service also has a valuable and dedicated young person’s service that offers counselling to people between the ages of 16 to 25 which at present is a service that is more in demand than ever.

Mairi Norman, NEECS service co-ordinator, says: “The funding to support charitable organisations such as NEECS, which helps to bridge the gap between supply and demand on NHS services, has become less available due to the impact of the pandemic on funding sources.

“We know our service changes lives and has supported countless people in north east Edinburgh through various challenges and struggles over the past 25 years.

“Raising this money will allow NEECS to continue to fulfil its vital role in the community and to support people who are seeking help”.

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One client of the service, who wished not to be named, said: “My mental health and overall wellbeing have improved beyond my expectations. My counsellor has helped me to rebuild my life, a life where I have a choice and I am no longer a helpless victim of bad circumstances.”

A donation of £5 pays for telephone and internet per day, £25 pays for a counselling session, and raising the full sum of £80,000 will ensure that NEECS is able to continue offering counselling and support to people in Edinburgh for the next year.

Previously, the charity was based in Haddington Place, but all operations are now remote and all sessions take place via video call or telephone. Due to the financial challenges, the decision was taken to close the premises, but the charity hopes to return to renting and offering a face-to-face service when funding is secure.

Those wishing to help can do so by donating on the JustGiving page.

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