Chester based Platform for Life started in 2017 from a small volunteer counselling service which helped young families experiencing multiple challenges, such as homelessness, debt and parenting difficulties. We could see that poor mental health was preventing these families from overcoming their challenges and that the cycle of poor mental health was often being passed down from one generation to the next. This was painful to witness and drove a key aim of our charity- to break the cycle of poor mental health being passed down to the next generation and improve individuals’ life chances.
We started our new counselling and play therapy service Lache, delivering it in community locations to those who couldn’t afford to pay for it when NHS provision wasn’t available, too difficult to access or waiting times were too long. Being flexible and person-centred helped us engage really well with families- sometimes the children, sometimes parents and often both.
Encouraged by positive feedback from clients and referrers, and also by funders, we extended our service from Lache to include Blacon, another part of Chester with higher than average levels of social disadvantage and challenges. Over the next three years we plan to grow the number of sessions we can offer in these two communities and extend further into other local areas struggling in a similar way.