LincolnX Featured takes a look at our LincolnX members, profiling their firm and highlighting key developments within their business.
This week’s LincolnX member is Lincoln-based Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub (NWCH).
The hub was founded in 2017 by Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska and former colleague Alex Parkin, and today boasts a 29-strong team, including those engaged in office admin.
Three years on, the demand for their counselling services and expert support has surged since the Coronavirus pandemic, leading the team to rethink how they were working.
Desperate to ensure no client was left in limbo by being unable to access face-to-face support, the Hub team resorted to using the telephone and online systems to counsel more than 100 clients.
Passionate about what she does, Naomi has held a number of conferences related to mental wellbeing, including her #ManChat Conference at the Showroom in Lincoln in October 2018, which featured high profile speakers who encouraged their audience to speak out about their worries.
Another well-attended event was Naomi’s Suicide Prevention Conference (also at The Showroom) in September 2019 – where speakers focused on suicide in Young People, Adults, within the LGBT+ community and people with a diagnosis of ADHD.
Naomi said: “I have always tried to snap-up opportunities to improve my own knowledge and understanding, chased opportunities to apply for grant funding – to help more people in need to access counselling services – and built a strong team around me.”
“I started the Hub to start to fill gaps for mental health provision in the county.”
“In April 2017 it was just Alex and me, but by December that year, we had 200 referrals, a team of 10 people and some funding.
“We went on to create more counselling rooms within our premises and shortly afterwards to lease a second building.”
The team at NWCH have expertise in areas ranging from sexual abuse, self-harm, suicide, complex mental health issues and bereavement.
They also offer children’s and couples counselling and family therapy.
Towards the end of August this year, the team were awarded £70,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund and received £20,000 from The Key Fund – matching bids from the Community Interest Company.
This came only days after the Hub received £11,000 – by winning a share of £150,000 of extra funding secured by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for organisations supporting victim of domestic and sexual abuse.
Naomi continued: “I’m grateful to say that, as we’ve grown and developed, we’ve been highly successful in winning grant funding from organisations, including The Bromhead Medical Charity, The Key Fund, the National Lottery and Lincolnshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner.
“Some funds have allowed us to offer funded counselling sessions to those most in need.”
“It was a fantastic moment in April last year, when I heard that I had won a prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Award, which allowed me to visit Australia and New Zealand to research suicide prevention in young people in those countries and share my knowledge and experience too.
“It really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Recently, Naomi has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Institute of Directors’ Director of the Year Awards 2020.
Naomi is encouraging more people to make a career in her industry, by taking advantage of her training programmes.
Click Here to visit the NWCH website.