Desperate appeal as life-saving Wigan counselling service faces the axe

A service credited with saving the life of a manslaughter victim’s grieving mum is teetering on the brink of collapse.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 10:28 am
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 10:29 am
Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst with a picture of their beloved Carly

Money is running out for the counselling arm of Wigan Victim Support as the thousands raised in memory of domestic abuse victim Carly Fairhurst dry up and subsidies prove hard to come by.

The Hindley 19-year-old’s dad Trevor this week revealed for the first time that wife Sheila almost killed herself with a drink and drugs overdose shortly after their daughter died at the hands of Darren Pilkington in 2006.

He was fortunate to come downstairs and find her just in time.

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But, as he appealed for businesses to support the fund and more people to take part in charity events to get the Carly Fund going again, he said that in the longer term it was sessions with a Victim Support counsellor that taught Sheila how to come to terms with her distress.

The counselling arm was first in danger of closing soon after the Fairhursts benefitted from it.

But the couple took it upon themselves to launch an appeal in their daughter’s memory to keep it alive.

Over the years a massive £60,000 has been raised to provide up to three counsellors who have helped people who have suffered huge traumas, whether being the victims of violence, rape or robbery or having lost loved ones to murder and manslaughter.

Numerous local people at the direst points of their lives have benefited and many have been the financial contributions from members of the public and businesses to keep it going.

But the campaign has lost momentum, other charities have risen to greater prominence and so the funds have depleted.

From three counsellors, Wigan Victim Support is now down to one as the other two left for pastures new and it has not been able to replace them.

Now even the one remainder is in danger of being let go for a lack of resources.

Even special pleading by the Fairhursts to Victim Support chief executive Diana Fawcett hasn’t had the desired result, her telling them that, regretfully, if the charity funded counsellors in Wigan it would have to do the same everywhere else and that it could not afford to do.

Mr Fairhurst said: “This is a desperate situation. Counselling is not a core part of Victim Support’s work so the funding it receives has to go elsewhere.

But the counselling in Wigan has been invaluable over the years.

“It unquestionably saved Sheila’s life and there are many others who have also benefited.

“Thousands of pounds are needed to keep the service going and we are calling on local businesses to throw a lifeline. Any individuals willing to raise money will also be very welcome. This is something that is too good to lose for the people of the borough. You never know when you might need it yourselves.”

Anyone willing to help the Carly Fund and Victim Support counsellors can contact Trevor on 0774 932 5603.