Year in Review: Charlton Blackwell – A year of tremendous growth

This story is over

NWCH will be coming up to it’s 3rd Birthday in April 2020 and within the first 32 months of its creation, we have experienced tremendous growth. From January this year, we have had over 600 referrals into our service – Totalling almost 1300 referrals since the Hub first opened its doors. Meaning that in the past 12 months, we have seen as many referrals into the service as we received in the 20 months prior to that.

I joined the NWCH team back in October 2017 because I believed in the vision that NWCH was attempting to accomplish – Providing rapid access, qualified therapy to the community and therefor removing the barriers one may face whilst trying to access mental health support.

I started out by supporting NWCH with offering my services as a qualified, volunteer counsellor and within the past 12 months have had the pleasure of becoming a Director and Operations Manager of the business. Not only have I grown as a person, but I’ve watched the business develop from its infancy to what it is now and feel very proud to be a part of that growth.

Like all businesses, we have had our challenges and I believe we will continue to do so as we expand the reach of our service. One of the main challenges that we face is that we are not a typical business. We do not offer a product or a service that is looking to be sold to a lifelong customer. In fact the work we do is the opposite of keeping life long customers, as the effectiveness of our work is based upon working with someone with the hopes that they will no longer require to continue to work with a service like ours.

The success and reputation of the business is dependent upon providing effective therapy that may bring someone lasting change. As the reputation has grown, this continues to establish trust in surrounding services to refer further people into our service who may benefit from therapy. This has also allowed us to welcome in supporting services to work from within our building, which has created more of a “wrap around” care approach.

Although still working independently from us, this year we have had Dr Salwan Jajawi start to provide his Psychiatry services from our building as well as Phil Anderton with ADHD 360. Bringing us a few steps closer to the goal of having a variety of services under one roof – Thus making the experience for a client a more streamlined one.

We’ve also seen great successes with our annual conferences. This year our focus was around suicide prevention, with the year before it focusing on Men’s Mental health (ManChat). Both conferences have helped to raise the profile of NWCH and sparked interesting discussions with those working in the local community with the intention to work further with these subjects.

Looking forward

Coming into our 3rd year, I feel working towards becoming commissioned is an important goal for NWCH as this will provide lasting, secure funding to aid the continuation of the work we provide. This is important as we see on average 2/3 referrals requiring funding support to allow counselling to begin. We understand however, that it is important for any business to not depend on one source of income which is why we have put more work into supporting businesses with their employee’s wellbeing.

Ultimately, for a community interest company to survive in today’s economic climate – It must be bought into by the community. This means we will have more of a focus on working with business to business to provide Employee assistance programmes or have them support what we do through donations.

We are very fortunate to have Kinetic Estate Agents do this for us already by donating counselling sessions through the sales of their homes. It’s relationships like this, that will allow us to continue to operate effectively and continue to provide our service to Lincolnshire.

With all this said, I do not believe we talk enough about the great success stories we’ve seen at NWCH. We pride ourselves on being different and have worked in some ways that would be considered “outside the box” for therapy. My Aim for 2020 is to be able to talk more about these stories and share with Lincoln, what makes us different.