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Kernos Centre in Sudbury seeks funding to keep counselling going after coronavirus crisis forces abrupt transition to online services




A long-running Sudbury counselling charity is seeking further financial aid to sustain its services, following a key cash lifeline to help continue its remote support for vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kernos Centre expressed its gratitude after receiving a £5,000 grant from Suffolk’s Coronavirus Community Fund, via the Suffolk Community Foundation, to help cover the costs of adapting its service, following the public lockdown.

The charity, which provided weekly face-to-face sessions for 80 clients prior to the lockdown, was forced to close its facility in Friars Street, but has since transitioned to online video and telephone support, with around half of clients agreeing to continue counselling through these means.

SUDBURY: Kernos Centre.Kernos Centre, 32-34 Friars Street, Sudbury .The Kernos Centre, a counselling charity in Sudbury, has been awarded £5,000 by the Suffolk’s Coronavirus Community Fund project, via the Suffolk Community Foundation, counselling director Chris Boatwright. Picture by Mark Westley. (34615511)
SUDBURY: Kernos Centre.Kernos Centre, 32-34 Friars Street, Sudbury .The Kernos Centre, a counselling charity in Sudbury, has been awarded £5,000 by the Suffolk’s Coronavirus Community Fund project, via the Suffolk Community Foundation, counselling director Chris Boatwright. Picture by Mark Westley. (34615511)

Chris Boatwright, director of counselling at the Kernos Centre, explained it has been very challenging to abruptly adapt the services for both counsellors and the administrative team.

However, she told the Free Press it is vital that counselling continues during this time, particularly for people who are socially isolated, adding that the grant funding is hugely important for keeping these services going.

“We’re so grateful for this funding for helping us deal with the emerging issues due to the pandemic,” she said.

“Everyone at Kernos knew having someone to talk to is an essential service for people who are already struggling and not emotionally equipped to deal with the impact of isolation.

“Mental and psychological distress can affect every area of a person’s life and drastically impact their ability to function.

“Supporting emotional and mental health can be even more critical during this period of lockdown, in ensuring problems do not escalate.

“Working through problems in counselling helps to build resilience and confidence, helping people to stay safe at this time.”

She added that the Kernos Centre, which was founded in 2003, is currently no longer accepting new referrals, with 60 people already on the waiting list, but it is constantly reviewing the list to see if more people can benefit from remote help.

But, with operational costs increasing as a result of the changes, the organisation is now pursuing other avenues of funding, to ensure these services can continue, due to the uncertainty over when face-to-face sessions can begin again.

Financial director Peter Brown said: “It’s impossible to predict when we can resume at the centre, given the nature of counselling and the current government guidelines, but we will be keen to return to the centre as soon as we feel it’s safe for our clients and our staff to do so.

“The grant we’ve received is very important to us, but we’ll certainly need further funding to maintain this and future counselling.

“We continue to seek further funding and are hopeful that we will find the support we will need to enable Kernos to continue supporting local people this way into the foreseeable future.”

For more information, go online to kernos.org.


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