Wigan counselling group now offering peer support

A counselling group in Wigan has set up new free and low-cost group sessions open to residents of Wigan borough as cases of depression and other mental health issues soar.

Emotional Wellbeing Group (EWG), a not-for-profit organisation which moved into its own base on Bishopgate in January, has secured funding from The National Lottery and Jigsaw Housing.

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It will use the money to offer free and low-cost counselling peer-support sessions which will be made available for people in the community to access from November.

EWG - Emotional Wellbeing Group, have a counselling hub in Bishopgate, Wigan, and offer free and low cost group sessions. from left, Emily Durkin-Kenyon and director Anna Palin-Swift.

Anna Palin-Swift, founder and director of EWG Counselling, said: “We moved-in in January but we’ve been arranging all of the different services.

"We’ve recently had some more funding from The National Lottery which means we can continue our free online chat service and we’ve also received funding from Jigsaw Homes to help us offer free and low-cost counselling.

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"We’re also going to be starting a counsellor-led peer group to support individuals with their mental health; depression and anxiety.

“The groups will be starting in November and they will be on Thursday mornings. It will be an open group so individuals can just come along to the centre once they’ve started and they can also refer through the website if they want to talk to us beforehand.

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Director Anna Palin-Swift, left, and Emily Durkin-Kenyon, right.

“Over the past couple of years levels of depression and anxiety have just sky-rocketed and we’ve found that a lot of people are needing either a low-cost or a free option to offer them support at the moment.

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"With long waiting lists, with things like this we can try to help people instantly and that’s what people have been saying is important.

“We spoke to a few community groups and we did a survey recently just to see what’s helpful and there’s more and more people saying that they would like peer support, so they can meet and talk to people who are going through similar things.

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"We just want to let people know that it’s okay to reach out and it’s okay to talk and there are a lot of options available, you don’t have to go through it alone.”

EWG - Emotional Wellbeing Group director, Anna Palin-Swift.
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The counsellor-led, peer-support sessions will be set in an informal environment where people can come along, have a brew and a biscuit and share experiences, with opportunities to learn some coping stratergies.