New Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services (HBBS) Chief Executive Officer, Emma Tierney, has vowed to continue building upon the charity’s “excellent” counselling work with adults and young people across the area.

Mrs Tierney - a trained counsellor - is also keen to promote the continued expansion of the areas outside of bereavement although that remains a vitally important aspect of the charity’s work.

HBBS - which was founded in 1989 - offers counselling to adults and children across the area for a range of issues including bereavement, stress and anxiety, depression, phobias, family breakdowns, trauma and support for family carers.

In the last financial year HBBS provided almost 3,000 counselling sessions to people across its catchment area.

With 2019 marking the 30th anniversary of organisation, we spoke to Mrs Tierney about her plans for the year ahead and ambitions for Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services going forward.

She said: “My main ambitions for Havering and Brentwood Counselling Services are to continue the excellent work it carries out supporting children, young people and adults struggling with difficulties.

“In the last financial year we provided more than 2915 sessions which is incredible and just goes to show how much of a need there is for high quality counselling support.

“As a charity we are a member of the professional body BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and I would like to move to the next step in gaining accreditation status for our counselling services too.

“In the past Havering and Brentwood Counselling Services provided bereavement support only; we now provide much more than this. Some of the other projects we run are counselling support for dementia carers in Thurrock and counselling for adults, children and young people with difficulties around areas such as depression, anxiety and stress.

“There is such a huge need for counselling and I believe everyone should have access to this vital support when needed. “

The charity’s counselling work is funded by grants from organisations such as Children in Need and Big Lottery, fundraising events and donations from members of the public.

Mrs Tierney explained how people wishing to support the charity in the year ahead can get involved.

“Members of the public are hugely important in helping us to continue to be able to provide our counselling services,” she explained.

“We have the Brentwood Half Marathon coming up in March and we are looking for people to help by running for us.

“It's our 30th Birthday this year and if we could get 30 runners this would be great and would help us to continue to run the services we do. If people are able to help by donating to us this is also appreciated. We also run many fundraising events and are always looking for people to help support these.”

With plans for the 30th anniversary underway, Mrs Tierney revealed plans for the year ahead.

“I think our 30th anniversary shows how much our services are needed and respected by the local community and our funders.

“We will continue to highlight and raise awareness of what we do to reach as many people as possible who need support.

“We will also work to develop new as well as existing partnerships to ensure our services are around for another 30 years.

“Since joining the charity it is clear how passionate and dedicated the staffing and volunteer teams are and without their support and hard work our services wouldn't be what they are today.”

If you would like to take part in the Brentwood Half Marathon, Fun Run or support Havering & Brentwood Counselling Services in another way, email katy.okeefe@hbbscounselling.org or call 01277 283190.