Trustees/Directors report for the year ending 31 December 2017

Objects of the charity principal activities and organisation of our work.

The charity is constituted as a company limited by guarantee and is therefore governed by its memorandum and articles of Association. It was incorporated on 20th of October 1998.

The charities objects and its principal activities continue to be those of preserving and protecting mental health by the provision of a counselling service for all sections of the community who are suffering from psychological distress or relationship problems and to advance education and training in counselling.

Contributions towards the cost of the service are reduced for clients who are unable to afford the full cost of the service.

Responsibility for governance of the charity rests with the Board of Trustees. The executive committee meets regularly to manage its affairs at an operational level. There is an unpaid Director and two part-time administrators who manage the day-to-day administration of the charity. There is a part-time counselling coordinator who manages the clinical aspects of the service and a part-time publicity officer to promote the service.

Voluntary assistance

Compass Counselling depends on the commitment and dedication of many people who contribute voluntarily to the running of the service. These include:

Supervisors and Trainers
Volunteers who have assisted in promoting the service
Professionals providing accounting and bookkeeping services
The Directors and Trustees themselves
Paid Staff who have worked more than their contracted hours

It is estimated that this assistance amounted to approximately 44,000 in the year and no charge was made for these services.

The Trustees thank everyone and acknowledge that the service could not have run without this voluntary input.

Development, activities and achievements in the year 2017

We are pleased to report that 2017 was another successful year for Compass Counselling. Increasing demand for the service has required us to recruit new counsellors and supervisors and has required a review of staffing arrangements to take account of the increased activity and the resulting additional workload.

The majority of referrals continue to come via GPs and we continue to write personally to 170 doctors as our biggest referrers to update them on our activities and provide them with guidance on referrals, particularly in response to research which has identified that outcomes are greatly improved if people are offered a choice of their treatment programme.

Increasingly people approach us having been referred to us by friends and family and our website receives 3,000 hits a month.

Our evaluation system continues to show the vast majority of participating clients achieving a significant improvement in their mental health.

We have continued to provide training opportunities for our Counsellors- workshops, reading groups and this year we promoted the benefits of counselling through external workshops such as ‘Counselling skills for everyday life’.

As well as counselling individual clients, Compass promotes the importance of good mental health across the population of the New Forest, looking to increase understanding and reduce stigma. Part of this has been our continued involvement with an initiative set up by The Right Honourable Dr. Julian Lewis MP to support local mental health services. This includes quarterly meetings with NHS representatives and other interested parties as part of their ‘Improved Access to Psychological Therapy’ programme.

Good governance is essential if we are to remain viable and relevant. We have recruited 2 new trustees who bring additional skills and experience to our team. We said goodbye to Pat Porter, one of our long-standing trustees, and thanked her for her contributions and guidance over the years. We were re-accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) during the year and our continued involvement with the NCN (National Counselling Network) has assisted the review and update of the Counselling Service Guidelines adopted by the NCN.

Thanks to some generous donations we have managed to keep the deficit at a manageable level and have now put in place the contingency fund to safeguard the future of Compass.

Future developments

In 2018 we will continue to provide the counselling services as we have for the last 20 years and continue to develop links with the GP community and seek opportunities everywhere to promote parity of esteem in mental health. We will continue to look for opportunities to work in partnership with the NHS (hopefully with some funding). We have a meeting to discuss this with the Operations Director of Southern Health in May.

Additionally this year there will be specific focus on the unemployed and older people in our area which has attracted funding from The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation and the Hampshire County Council.

In November 2018 we are celebrating our 20th anniversary with a promotional event. Focus of our fundraising activities will be to increase the number of funders supporting our work to provide an affordable counselling service to the New Forest community.

Copies of the accounts of Compass Counselling (New Forest) Ltd. are available on request.

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