Funding lifeline allows charity to continue its services

A charity that provides counselling services for children, young people and adults has been able to continue its work after receiving emergency funding.

Knowsley-based Listening Ear has been providing a range of emotional and psychological therapies for more than two decades but was badly hit when Covid-19 stopped it delivering face-to-face counselling.

Deputy CEO Jayne Hobin-Wright said the charity is unrecognisable from the original service that started at St Nicholas Church in Halewood to support adults who had been bereaved.

Ten years later they expanded their service after a child who’d been the first at the scene of a family suicide came forward at a time when there was no support for children and young people available, so they set up a new group called Butterflies with funding received from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

In 2004 Listening Ear moved from a ‘listening service’ to a professional counselling service with full accreditation and became the first counselling service on Merseyside to become accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Today the charity gets over 2,000 referrals seeking  support for children, young people and adults a year.

Jayne said: “We no longer just offer bereavement counselling. We’ve broadened into helping children, young people and their parents who have suffered domestic abuse for example.”

The charity also launched a service called Amparo, which means ‘shelter’ or ‘safe haven’ in Spanish and provides support for anyone affected by suicide.

The service covers Merseyside and Cheshire, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Suffolk.

“People who have an experience of suicide are more likely to take their own lives,” said Jayne. “It’s important to get that early intervention.”

Support can be provided one-to-one, to family groups, groups of colleagues.

When Covid-19 struck the charity had to completely transform the way it operated and were awarded £12,000 by the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund to complete the transformation.

“The majority of our services are face-to-face,” she said. “When Covid-19 struck we went into battle planning and thought ‘how are we going to see all these people?’  We knew we needed to provide the same services as before but over the telephone.

“Referrals have gone up. The level of engagement with adults and children is really good. We have around 50 children using the service in this new way. We moved our services to telephone, FaceTime and Zoom.

“Before Covid-19 some of our work was to support student counsellors completing their placement hours. As students they would be supported in their work by a qualified line manager. Because of Covid-19 we couldn’t have that level of supervision but, thanks to the £12,000 we received from the Steve Morgan Foundation, we’ve been able to replace our volunteers with paid staff so we continue our service as before and clients can still be offered support. It’s made a massive difference and we’re very grateful.”

The charity is also appealing to the public to support its work. Donations can be made via www.listening-ear.co.uk/donate

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “Listening Ear is a really good example of a charity that has evolved and developed its services. The need for the expertise didn’t go away during Covid-19 and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help them continue their important work.”

Jayne Hobin-Wright testing out the Zoom technology with her son
Jayne Hobin-Wright testing out the Zoom technology with her son

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