A counselling service for homeless people in King’s Lynn has been launched, thanks to £100,000 of local donations.
The town’s Purfleet Trust charity and One to One Project have joined forces to offer the service following a £76,000 donation from East Winch-based Adrian Flux and donations from Hunstanton Rotary, King’s Lynn Rotary and Priory and Trinity Rotaries.
Former West Norfolk Mayor Carol Bower launched the scheme on Tuesday, when she also handed over cheques for £10,500 to the two charities which were her chosen charities during her year as mayor.
Paula Hall, chief executive of the Purfleet Trust, said: “We are now able to deliver a service that we could only dream about before.
“We have identified that those who go through counselling can move towards independence up to 40 per cent quicker.
“The counselling is bespoke – it fits exactly with what our clients need. The counsellors are amazing.”
Counsellors from the One to One Project will give 12 hours counselling a week, as well as a series of short courses and group counselling, specifically for homeless people.
Sessions have already started and are having a great impact on the Purfleet Trust’s clients.
Mrs Hall said: “The consensus is they feel they are getting intensive support to work through personal traumas, anxieties and issues. This week one client who has been receiving counselling smiled for the first time in a long time. I can’t believe the impact this is having.”
The Purfleet Trust will move into its new premises in the former Red Cross building on Austin Fields in the next few months. The building will be known as Pathways House and will incorporate a wide range of services for the homeless, including a counselling room and a clinic room.
Hannah Cooper, project manager at the North Lynn-based One to One Project, said: “It’s about offering free counselling to people who are hard to reach. This is a great opportunity to join forces and use our expertise to reach the clients of the Purfleet Trust.
“Our aim is positive and lasting change. We are working on deep-rooted things so the change can be sustained and over time they can try to move forward from the support services and live more independently.
“The fact that we have got this big investment makes this project possible and then there is a ripple effect and communities start changing. I don’t think there’s a project like this that exists in Norfolk. There’s a huge amount of support for it which is wonderful.”
Mrs Bower said: “This project is extremely exciting and very positive.”