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£142k counselling lifeline for north Belfast

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DSD Minister Nelson McCausland with Anne Thompson MBE and Carol Massey of Jigsaw Community Counselling Centre and Karen Collins of New Life Counselling

DSD Minister Nelson McCausland with Anne Thompson MBE and Carol Massey of Jigsaw Community Counselling Centre and Karen Collins of New Life Counselling

DSD Minister Nelson McCausland with Anne Thompson MBE and Carol Massey of Jigsaw Community Counselling Centre and Karen Collins of New Life Counselling

The most disadvantaged communities in north Belfast are being targeted in a drive to provide accessible counselling services, with the announcement of a £142k funding boost for two local counselling providers.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland made the funding announcement on Friday (October 14), saying the money will be divided between Jigsaw Community Counselling Centre in Ballysillan and New Life Counselling.

The funds, provided by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development's Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy, will allow both organisations to enhance their existing services as well as deliver a range of new services to address the substantial demand for counselling services in areas considered some of the most deprived in Belfast.

Carol Massey, CEO of Jigsaw welcomed the funding boost: "DSD's support means we can offer Ballysillan people immediate help with distressing emotional problems and longer term support for struggling mums, men without work, broken families, and folk who feel close to ending it all.

"Our drop-in sessions, counsellors and support groups give local residents the support they need, in their own language, and soon enough to save them a lot of future trouble," she added.

Karen Collins, CEO of New Life Counselling echoed Carol's sentiments, saying: "New Life Counselling is delighted to receive this additional support from the Department. At a time when demands for counselling support are at their highest it is wonderful for us to be able to support those in need who wish to use this service."

During a visit to the Jigsaw Community Counselling Centre on Friday, the Minister described their work as vital.

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"This funding is good news for the people living in the most disadvantaged Neighbourhood Renewal Areas of Belfast and will allow these organisations to expand and develop the services they offer for people of all ages who seek or are in need of counselling support services," he said.

"The package supports my Department's strategic objectives of community and social renewal. These objectives aim to improve the quality of life for people in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods."

The counselling services offered by both organisations are available to people of all ages. Further information on both organisations can be found online at: www.jigsawccc.co.uk or by calling: 95 438166 www.newlifecounselling.net or by calling: 90 391630


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