Normally when anyone asks me who or what New Dawn is my default position is to recall some of the wording on our website. ‘We are a Community Interest Company (CIC) providing affordable counselling to the local community’. However, this only scratches the very tip of the iceberg of who we really are, there is so much more under the surface.
In order to explain fully, I need to go back to our roots. The centre was founded in 2002 by a group of experienced counsellors who were Christians that had identified a need for affordable, accessible counselling in the local community. They found a suitable building to rent in the heart of the community in Beeston near to Nottingham City centre and got to work. Over the years the centre has grown and evolved. The Christian values of caring, giving and listening to people in need are still in evidence, but the centre welcomes clients from all backgrounds regardless of their faith, spirituality, ethnicity and sexual orientation. As a CIC the company makes no profit and there are no paid employees. Everyone at the centre is either a volunteer, a student counsellor or a self-employed therapist. The centre is managed by each of these people giving up their free time on a voluntary basis to take on a variety of business and administrative roles and attend regular meetings. Even the board of directors, including the chair and vice-chair, take on their roles on a voluntary basis. At the end of each financial year if the centre has made a profit then this money is transferred into the bursary fund which is used to provide financial support to clients unable to afford the full cost of counselling. We also participate in fundraising events to ensure that the bursary fund is kept topped up.
initially we provided face to face sessions within the centre but this quickly changed with the emergence of COVID-19. After some rapidly accessed training in March 2020, counsellors have become adept at providing online sessions which means clients can access services from the comfort of their own home and from any location. We are no longer just a Nottingham facility, anyone with a decent WiFi can access our services.
Some clients may believe that as experienced counsellors we must therefore be experts on the lives of those that are struggling and have problem free personal lives. I hate to disappoint but that’s not entirely true. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s close. I have yet to meet a fellow therapist who professes to ‘have it all together’.
We are reflections of our clients. We are a group of men and women of differing ages, cultures, ethnicities and life experiences. We have experienced the highs and lows of life. Battled with depression and anxiety, suffered loss and bereavement, experienced broken relationships and in the last year we have endured lockdown, loneliness and separation from our loved ones. We are human like everyone else.
Our training and our experience teach us to recognise when we are broken and need to ask for help and our own self-care must be a priority if we are to be robust enough to care for our clients. We never claim to be the experts in the lives of our clients. We see their potential and desire nothing more than to guide them in the right direction but first we must allow them to express their confusion and pain. We must sit with them in their dark tunnel, resisting the temptation to move them at our pace instead of their own. There is nothing more rewarding than sitting with someone in the darkness until they can see for themselves the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes we get to experience the complete privilege of standing beside them as they step out in to the light. It’s like standing outside with your face to the warm sunshine after a long dark winter. It’s glorious. Clients will often reflect on how their counsellor has helped them to heal. The truth is it’s mutual. As we walk with them on their journey of healing, they too are healing us.
2021 will see further growth and development not just in our clients, but in the business too. We have taken on more student counsellors; our qualified counsellors are planning their return to face-to-face work at the centre whilst some will continue to provide online therapy. Life is changing for all of us as we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic and the New Dawn Counselling centre is no different. We will change and grow according to the needs of all our wonderful clients. As I mentioned earlier, not all clients can afford the full cost of counselling and so more fundraising events will be held so we can help more of those in need access what can be a life enhancing service.
“Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning... Anyone can start over and make a new ending.” Chico Xavier
The New Dawn Counselling centre is committed to providing support for individual adults, couples, children, young people and families. People can contact us to book an initial assessment appointment via our website or email.