A charity that has been helping local couples with their relationships for 65 years has taken on another counsellor to meet increased demand for its services.
Last year, Relate Guernsey held more than 500 counselling sessions at its centre in Smith Street, St Peter Port, a 10% rise from 2012. Centre manager, Annette Stewart, attributed the increase in part to the current tough economic climate.
‘The economic situation adds strain to relationships that may already have some issues going on and sometimes that can be the last straw, but there are a number of reasons why people come to us,’ she said. ‘A high percentage of people come to us because of a lack of communication, that is very high on the list. There are also issues around sustaining their relationships, but certainly, financial problems are one of the presenting issues.
Relate has been able to train a new counsellor thanks to a donation of £4,020 from the Lloyds Bank Group Foundation for the Channel Islands.
Counsellors provide a completely confidential relationship counselling service and are trained in the UK to national standards. This makes them specialists in relationship issues and how parents can help their children and young people to cope when they are going through a break-up of the family unit.
Mrs Stewart thanked the Foundation, saying being able to take on another counsellor would enable the charity to meet the increased demand for its services.
‘We are grateful to Lloyds Bank Group Foundation for the Channel Islands as the money is being spent on strengthening our team so we can help couples who want to remain together to overcome their problems, and those that decide on separation to do so in a healthy way,’ she said.
Since 1985,the Foundation has donated in excess of £12 million to charitable organisations in the Channel Islands, the UK and overseas. It is legally independent of the Lloyds Group and an independent board of trustees determines the policies. The Chairman of the local foundation is Jurat Stephen Jones and the Executive Director is John Hutchins.
Mr Hutchins said: “We are please to have been in a position to support this charity which makes a vital contribution towards families in Guernsey.”
Relate was founded in the UK in 1938 as the National Marriage Guidance Council, after a clergyman, Herbert Gray, noted that the divorce rate was increasing. Relate started in Guernsey – also as the Marriage Guidance Council - in 1949.
Nationally, the charity is the biggest provider of relationship support, helping over a million people of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations to strengthen their relationships.