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Unlock Your You counselling service launched in Newark hopes to be armband of support for those in need

A counselling service launched in Newark hopes to be an armband of support for those in need.

Community interest company Unlock Your You (UYY) already has a mental health helpline that runs Monday to Friday, from 7am to midnight. It was started in the first lockdown.

Now, wanting to reach out further to people struggling, the company has created a service that aims to bridge the gap between clinical and non-clinical support.

Stressed woman.
Stressed woman.

Business development manager Colby Williams, of Newark, said the counselling opportunity was an armband helping to keep people afloat and giving direction — whether achieving a mental diagnosis or just getting through a bad day.

Colby said: “The initial plan was for UYY to launch a counselling service and it so happens that one of our counsellors lives in Newark.

“So, this is where the opportunity will birth from.”

Colby Williams has been furloughed from Newark's Tambo Lounge and is focussing on Unlock Your You.
Colby Williams has been furloughed from Newark's Tambo Lounge and is focussing on Unlock Your You.

The first port of call is a telephone conversation via the helpline, followed by an appointment at an assessment centre in Melton Mowbray.

It is hoped similar response units could be opened in Newark and Grantham.

Here, under the help of experts in debt management, mental health advice and bereavement, a person in need may then be referred for counselling depending on what has been identified.

“The counselling is now in place and we have successfully taken on referrals, alongside our mental health response unit in Melton Mowbray, which has been going for the last seven weeks,” said Colby.

Stressed teen.
Stressed teen.

“We see our phone line as the initial, virtual response. Then in our physical response — like at the unit in Melton — we hope to give some kind of direction to anyone going through a crisis, like a referral for counselling via Zoom or advice.

“It will always be tailored to your needs. The idea is to give people the full spectrum of our service.

“Our virtual response is happening all over the UK, but the next step is to have one of the mental health response units in every town in the UK.”

He said once the units are built, the counselling service will expand so people can be referred to an area that is comfortable for them.

Unlock Your You is to become a charity this year. (43782085)
Unlock Your You is to become a charity this year. (43782085)

He said: “When we expand into towns, nine times out of ten the person being referred for help will know one of our counsellors through a friend of a friend.

“We think this will help put some people at ease.”

UYY is going to become a registered charity in 2021. Colby said this would ensure services were less complex compared to a business approach.

“We have progressed slowly but, in a way, I am thankful because it has allowed us to solidify our approach so it is 100% consistent in all areas.”

Colby, who has been spending more time working with UYY while furloughed from Newark’s Tambo Lounge, said the company hadn’t made its progress alone.

The soon-to-be charity has had the help of The Lions Club in Melton Mowbray, which helped launch and train people for the mental health response unit.

Colby said the Rotary Club had also come on board as sponsors, helping UYY expand by training another five people.

The counselling sessions are £30 per session.

Colby said: “We are not there to blow your budget out the water, it’s there to cover the cost of the business and time of the counsellor. We are not for profit.”

To find out more, go to the Unlock Your You page on Facebook.

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