Wellspring Therapy and Training, the Harrogate-based counselling and training centre, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Wellspring, which is facing unprecedented demand for its services, will be holding a special church service and a fund-raising dinner later this year to mark this significant birthday.

The well-respected charity, which was founded by in 2003, provides affordable short and long-term counselling for the Harrogate and district community.

The church service, which will be conducted by the Rt Rev Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds and the patron of Wellspring, is being held on Sunday October 15 at St Andrew’s Church in Starbeck, while the fund-raising dinner will be held at the Crown Hotel in Harrogate on Friday November 17.

Emily Fullarton, the executive director of Wellspring, commented: “This is a very special year for us. These two exciting events will celebrate how a small local charity has survived and thrived during the past 20 years and how we have tackled the problem of increasing poor mental health, anxiety and depression , which has threatened to overwhelm the NHS. We are proud of what we have achieved and look forward to building on this during the next 20 years.

“The church service with Bishop Nick will be an opportunity to give thanks to everyone who has helped us over the years, while the dinner will be a chance to celebrate our 20th anniversary in style, whilst raising much-needed funds to help us tackle the challenges ahead.”

Emily explained how, in 2023, founding director Elaine Wainaina set up Wellspring as a Christian-based organisation to help those struggling with anxiety and depression. She added that the charity was honoured to carry on Elaine’s work today.

“Elaine and her fellow trustees soon saw the need to extend their counselling services to everyone who needed them, regardless of faith, sexual orientation and ethnic or cultural background. Our philosophy is underpinned by Christian values, but we are here to help everyone struggling with their mental health.

“The demand for Wellspring’s services meant the charity had to move initially into a terraced house in Prospect Road, Starbeck, and then into nearby St Andrew’s Vicarage, which had been bought for us by the Bramall Foundation. This tremendously generous gift has enabled us to expand our services in the Harrogate area since 2018 and to relieve the burden on the over-stretched NHS.

“Post-Covid, the demand for our services has intensified. For example, according the figures revealed recently by the BBC, there has been a 77 per cent rise in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis. We are seeing children as young as four, although most of our counselling work with young people is with teenagers.

“In the UK, one in four people will experience a mental health issue at least once in their lifetime. According to local research, many people in Harrogate assume because it is a ‘nice town’ people don’t struggle with these issues. That simply isn’t true. There is a huge demand in Harrogate for our services and it’s increasing.

“What makes Wellspring’s work unique in is that we offer affordable long-term, open-ended counselling where needed. Unfortunately, this type of therapy is not currently widely available from the NHS. Most private counselling typically costs between £50 or more for each session, but many of our clients are unable to afford this,” explained Emily.

Looking ahead, Wellspring hopes to be able to counsel 170 clients by the end of this year and 220 by the end of 2024, building on the 150 now on the charity’s books.

Emily explained: “We are also expanding through opening up Wellspring hubs in partnership with local churches. The first of these, Wellspring@StStephens, will open in Spring 2023 in West Bowling Bradford.
“We can’t do this on our own and so we are always grateful for support and partnership. If you could help us in any way, please do get in touch.”