AIMS AND PURPOSES
We are a long established Christian organisation whose membership is drawn from across the Churches and Communities of the Wigan Borough. Working in partnership we seek to serve the whole community, of all faiths and none, by celebrating the gift of family life in all its variety and helping heal where it is bruised and broken.
The services we offer focus on support for families, and their individual members, in all the situations of modern life from birth to death. This can mean helping rediscover what is life giving in the family environment or, when necessary, helping individuals value themselves in new circumstances.
An opportunity to talk to a counsellor in confidence, in a warm, supportive and safe environment, for example stress, anxiety, bereavement, depression and relationship problems. The Organisation offers counselling in a variety of settings from schools and Sure Start Childrens Centres as well as its two premises.
To provide an Advocacy Service which aims to represent families, young adults and older persons and allow their voices to be heard. The Organisation offers several advocacy projects from mental health advocacy, learning disabilities, children advocacy and Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy. Advocacy in these areas is to promote others to have a voice in relation to their needs and aspirations.
Our Service to Individuals and Families is:
- Respecting the Individual
- Respecting family life as we encounter it in all its variety and imperfection
- Strengthening Communities
- Working in Partnership
- Identifying and using local resources effectively
- Learning from experience
- Remaining independent in the face of changing times.
- We take referrals from (or support) people regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality,disability or creed/religion/non-religion and age.
- We believe that by working together and planning ahead we can achieve better and more accessible services to make the Borough a better place for all.
Statement on Accessibility
As an organisation we are aware that one of the main issues for organisations like ours is accessibility. This does not only mean physical accessibility but also issues like language, disability and also letting people know we exist and which services we offer. There is no point in us offering a service if our client group does not know we are offering it.
We have already put in place a lot of measures to achieve this already such as having counselors who speak a variety of languages, having a choice of male or female counsellors where possible, providing childcare where possible and working in as many places as possible so people never have to travel far to access the service. We have and still do offer to pay for travel in some cases.
As an organisation we still felt that this was not enough so we commissioned a database to be created. Although it was a considerable cost to the organisation we felt that it was a decision we needed to make. It would mean we could be much more efficient at analyzing all the data and therefore make us more efficient. One of the reports we will be able to produce is who accesses the service and whether this is representative of the Borough as a whole. This should show us how well we are doing in reaching our clients.
We would like to do more to improve accessibility to the service as it is usually the most vulnerable in society who find it most difficult to access services and yet they are the most needy.
We are in numerous schools across the Borough and therefore are available to provide a service to a huge number of children from all backgrounds and ethnic groups. What we have found however is that the bulk of the children we see are referred by the school which means that they are already being supported. What we aim to do is to introduce measures targeting children who are in need but who no-one knows about. We aim to get more self referrals from children which will mean we are seeing more children who are not already known but who are experiencing problems.
In order to do this we plan to make ourselves even more visible. We plan to make sure that our service is in the school prospectus, our service is prominent in the schools “taster days”, that every counselor who works in the school makes sure posters and leaflets are clearly visible and that it is clear how to self refer. We will also make sure that leaflets and posters are made available at parents evenings.
In the other counselling services we offer we will use the data we gather from our new database and then give the funders a breakdown of the service users. We will then be able to discuss with them where we are achieving our aims and where we are not and the reasons for this. We are going to be pro active in doing this rather than waiting for the funders, who do their own analysis, to come to us. We are also going to introduce a section on the feedback form rating our accessibility and space for suggestions for improving it.
We are also going to produce an accessibility policy to add to the policies and procedures which brings together all aspects of accessibility not just the physical.
The results of this should appear in next year’s annual report.