Counselling and Family Centre and The Cafe in the Park
The Counselling and Family Centre has been supporting the community in Altrincham and beyond for ten years from its location on Mayors Road in Altrincham. The Centre’s website defines itself as a service which is there ’For Whatever Life Throws at You’ and confidential counselling is offered to everyone of whatever age, gender, ethnicity or sexuality. Trained counsellors work with clients at the centre but also in local schools and even in people’s homes if clients have mobility issues. In the last five years, the service has been extended to include families affected by addiction of any kind.
The Centre is a charity which receives funding from the Big Lottery Fund amongst other bodies. There is a charge for the sessions although the Big Lottery funding has allowed the Centre to offer eight hours of counselling free of charge to clients with a household income of less than £30 000. Further sessions are charged at a reduced rate.
The Centre also offers a range of free public courses and support groups all run by experienced counsellors. Recent courses have included parenting classes for parents of young children and teenagers and support groups addressing issues of anger management, self-esteem and confidence. Future courses will include support groups for teenagers who are struggling and for women who are experiencing pregnancy and birth issues. A short course in mindfulness is also planned.
Three years ago, the Centre took on the adjoining building which had previously had a variety of uses, including a nursery. The building was refurbished and is now The Café in the Park - a community hub with a café and a bookable room – the Café Lounge. The Lounge can be used for free for non-chargeable activities otherwise it costs £12 an hour. It is very well used by community groups, children’s groups, meditation groups and the University of the Third Age. If you’d like to hire a room for your activity, get in touch.
The Café is a not-for -profit social enterprise and is mainly run by volunteers, including some of the counsellors. Working at the café can earn volunteers a very useful qualification in Food Hygiene at Level 1. The Centre and the café both work with the Step On project – a back to work programme run by the probation service providing opportunities for participants in the café and in reception in the centre. More volunteers are always welcome and larger numbers mean that the Café can stay open for more hours a week.
The Café Friday Club gathers every Friday (of course) from 10.30 until 12.30. Everyone is very welcome to drop by to get involved in the wide range of activities on offer which include knitting and sewing projects, PC training, walking, singing, book swaps – and anything else you can think of! The PCs in the Café are available for anyone to use for working, email or applying for jobs.
So Altrincham had never visited the Café in the Park before and found it a very welcoming and comfortable space. The mocha is highly recommended! The café has an outside space for sunny days and opens out onto a play area divided from the rest of the park by a fence so that little ones can’t wander too far.
If you would like to find out more about the Counselling and Family Centre or The Café in the Park have a look at their website http://thecfc.org.uk/.