TWO counsellors who dedicated years to helping members of the armed forces have set up their own service in the city.
Joyce Fitzpatrick and Julia Cole both worked for the naval personnel and families service, until the Royal Navy stopped having in-house counsellors.
Concerned about the loss of their vast experience in counselling servicemen and women, they set about creating their own service to offer free help to navy sailors and Royal Marines.
And yesterday the pair held the official launch of their service after winning enough funding to work for the next two years.
Mrs Cole said: ‘We wanted to continue the work that we have been doing for the last 10 years.
‘It seemed wrong to allow that experience to disappear, we have connections and knowledge of the issues facing servicemen and women in this area.
‘We are thrilled to be where we are now and look forward to making a difference.’
The two counsellors have enough funding to continue running the service for the next two years.
They applied to the Armed Forces Covenant for cash under the Libor fund – a pot of money taken from a collection of fines levied against banks.
They have set up their base at the Royal Maritime Club in Queen Street, Portsea.
Mrs Fitzpatrick added: ‘When the counselling service moved from being in-house we were concerned at the potential loss of experience we had so we began to look at how we could overcome that.
‘We are very grateful that the Armed Forces Covenant granted us two years of funding.
‘It’s been a whirlwind of experiences getting set up but we are very glad we did it.’
The counsellors see a range of servicemen and women across all ages and ranks within the armed forces.
Relationship problems are the most common issue presented, and they offer counselling for individuals or couples.
Other issues which the counselling can help with are trauma, bereavement, anxiety and bullying.
n Contact Seaforth Counselling by telephone on 07598 280563 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit seaforthcounselling.com.