The Relationship People

29th November 2018

Relationship charity Relate West Surrey offer counselling services to local people struggling with a variety of relationship challenges.  

Their aim is to develop their clients’ confidence, enabling them to make personal changes to engage in positive relationships for the benefit of themselves, their families and the wider community. The charity offers support to individuals, couples or families across the county and is also available to young people who are affected by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship.

We caught up with the charity’s Chief Executive Jill Rawling and Marketing Executive Kali Patel, to find out how it all works.

We have 12 counselling sites in total, soon to be 13 in the New Year, and offer Relationship, Individuals, Family, Psychosexual Therapy, Family Mediation and Young people’s counselling to our clients.

We recently carried out an in-depth study into long-term relationships to mark our 80th Anniversary. It is no surprise to us that it was found that honesty, empathy and being caring are the top qualities people living in the South look for in a partner. People really value honesty, so we weren’t surprised to see this was chosen as the best secret to a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.

It’s when trust is lost, and people have stopped talking to each other openly and honestly that many couples seek support with Relate West Surrey. Once trust in a relationship is broken, it can take a long time to repair, but with hard work, dedication and the support of a counsellor, it’s certainly possible.

I believe there is a growing need to support people experiencing relationship difficulties due to the increased pressures both adults and young people now face in their day to day lives. With adults, it’s money worries, juggling their work life balance, work itself with long hours and reaching high targets, dealing with relationships, illnesses – the list goes on. For young people, they may have parents that are separating, pressures to do well at school, exam stress, bullying, body dysmorphia and depression, to name a few issues.

Our young people’s counselling is part of Surrey Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Mindsight, who we are in partnership with. We provide over 3,000 hours of support to children and young people between the age of 10 and 19 and behind the scenes here at Relate we have our Appointment Secretaries taking a high number of bookings – especially for this young people’s service.

Below is just some of the feedback we have received for our services:

Ben* aged 14 – “Brilliant. Totally professional. One on one counselling changed my life. Thanks Relate.”

Bradley* aged 11 – “I would say to anyone, go to counselling, it helps you a lot with your feelings. Thank you to Relate.”

Mac* – “I would urge anyone to give themselves permission to have this invaluable experience – whatever state their relationship is in.”

To continue to provide the best service that we can, we still need to recruit specialist counsellors that can appropriately deal with all the young people that visit us, and in turn we will always need therapeutic toys and books to help clients to open up within the counselling sessions.

The Community Foundation for Surrey have been immensely generous in helping us fund for therapeutic toys for young people. The whole process of the application from beginning to end was very smooth with someone always there to answer queries and questions. I felt very comfortable communicating with everyone there as they were prompt in answering and very easy going.

We’re delighted to have most recently awarded a grant of £1,750 to Relate for therapeutic toys and play items to be used within young people’s counselling sessions. To learn more about the projects and organisations we fund, please see our Who We Support page.