Counselling, support and information for all relationships 
Our CEO Paul, shares his thoughts on what has been both a challenging and striding year for Relate Nottingham.  
At the start of the Pandemic we went on the steepest learning curve I have ever known. This year has brought changes to how we work that will stay with us once we return to something like normal. At the beginning of the year, we were primarily a face to face based service that was heavily reliant on using paper and yet within a few weeks in March and April we moved all our services online. We continue to provide all our counselling either by Zoom over webcam or via telephone. I am amazed at how quickly we all became comfortable with delivering counselling this way and how effective it can be. 
 
I want to pay tribute to all our counsellors and administrative team who had to master a new technology in a matter of weeks, sometimes even days! We developed a new mantra as we faced daily challenges - our catchphrase being 'there has to got to be a solution to this somewhere'. We do what alot of us do in a time of unsurity - Googled it! We attended online courses and completed learning modules and somehow we got through each day. I remember saying to the team and the board that at the moment 'everyday is a school day'. 
 
And yet now as we look back I realise how quickly we have adapted and incorporated this technology into our everyday practice. Zoom schedules are now our daily priority along with ensuring our clients have got the right electronic links so that they can complete their paperwork online. 
 
During the initial lockdown when the world felt a very scary place to be a times we took the decision to think about our response to the pandemic and how could we help people at this difficult time. We looked at our resources: amazing staff with incredible skills in counselling and a mobile phone with unlimited usage and data. Putting them together and thanks to funding from National Lottery Awards for All we set up our free 30 minute confidential telephone counselling service. The service was aimed at anyone over 18 and living in Notts. 
 
In late Summer we took stock and reviewed what we had achieved within the year and realised that we had met most of our Business Plan aims for the year and some of the next years. What might have taken us 18 months in any other time we had achieved within 6. We still have a way to go and there are changes we still want to make to ensure our service is accessible as possible to everyone living in Nottinghamshire. 
 
This has been a dynamic time for Relate Nottinghamshire as we have brought in new Volunteers and Trustees to shore up and strengthen our management team and extend our Social Media reach. Our plan is to continue to grow and develop our core business of relationship counselling whilst at the same time creating new markets for our services and finding ways to make sure everyone can benefit from our highly skilled and expert counsellors and support staff. 
 
Finally, I want to thank all our clients old and new who continue to teach us about relationships and life and bring so much of themselves to their counselling. I can honestly say on behalf of all the team it is an honour to work with you. 
 
Paul Dunnery - CEO, Relate Nottingham 
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