Co‐operatives co‐operate to support new community counselling service

A unique co‐operative in Tyne and Wear which will offer a variety of different counselling services, will be up and running throughout the region this autumn thanks to support from The Co‐operative Loan Fund and other co‐operative organisations.

Community Counselling Co‐operative will provide a variety of services that are tailored to the needs of people who have little or no access to therapeutic support. This will include working in schools in deprived areas, working with offenders, male victims of domestic violence and children separated from drug user parents.

The finance from The Co‐operative Loan Fund will go towards developing publicity materials for the co‐operative including leaflets, brochures and a new website. They hope that the site will act as an online ‘hub’ for their clients, providing a space for them to meet and interact online, access resources and find out about events.

Community Counselling Co‐operative is a group of five counsellors based in North East England, who came together as a co‐operative earlier this year after recognising a need for their services in the region. The members are delighted to be operating as a co‐operative, and believe it will have a positive effect on the way they do business.

Simon Campbell, one of Community Counselling Co‐operative’s directors, said: “The help we have received from organisations like SES, The Hub and The Loan Fund has been invaluable. Working as a co‐operative allows us to practise what we preach in terms of empowerment and respect.”

Community Counselling Co‐operative received business advice from The Co‐operative Enterprise Hub, making it one of a number of co‐operatives to have benefited from the services of both The Hub and The Loan Fund. The group also had assistance from local co‐operative organisation, SES (Sustainable Enterprise Strategies), which offers business and consultancy support to co‐operatives.

Ian Taylor of The Co‐operative Loan fund said: “It’s great to see a co‐op working with a network of co‐operative organisations like SES and The Hub, The Loan Fund is very pleased to have added to that support. This is a good example of co‐operation between co‐operatives.”