Youth service given a new lease of lifeBy Jon Nurse
July 06, 2012
A youth counselling service is expanding its work in Woodley just months after it was facing closure.
The ARC charity, based in Reading Road, Wokingham, will start sessions at Addington School for children with learning needs in September.
Counsellors feared for its future earlier this year after it lost £15,000 of annual funding from Wokingham Borough Council. However an agreement with the council in May has propelled the service to go from strength to strength.
Co-ordinator Paul Cassidy said: “This is the busiest we’ve ever been and whilst the world is in its current state there’s going to be no end to the growth. After a worrying time at the start of the year the future looks much more positive – having a service level agreement is a great way of doing it.”
Woodley Town Council (WTC) has increased its backing to the scheme by allocating a £5,000 grant, a 35 per cent rise on previous years, and town mayor Councillor Ray Duncan has selected ARC as his chosen charity.
Mr Cassidy said: “We have a really good relationship with WTC and they’ve been supporting us for more than 12 years now. It was a brilliant surprise to find out we are the mayor’s charity.”
Cllr Duncan said: “It’s extremely important work that ARC does and that’s why I’ve chosen them.”
The scheme holds 11,000 counselling sessions per year, seeing 1,200 adults and 1,000 children.
Demand for the service is greater than it has ever been, with a waiting list of 52 people seeking counsel and 30 wanting to serve as a counsellor.
“It’s a stressful time of the year with pupils waiting for exam results and making choices for next year,” Mr Cassidy said. “There are lots of life-changing decisions to be made.
“The whole country is in an anxious state. People can feel they have little control over their future.
“Parents are nervous and kids pick up on that and it becomes a vicious cycle.”
For more details, call (0118) 977 6710 or visit www.arcweb.org.uk