So it’s a Tuesday. Blog night. And I’m sitting in my placement between clients, wondering what to write. There is a sense of finality around all of me right now, and it’s difficult to muster up ideas to write about. But it occurs to me that the best thing to write about is what’s on my mind, and what’s mostly been on my mind this week is setting my counselling service up properly.
I started this placement almost two years ago. And by started (for any newish people) I approached a charity and said ‘do you want to offer counselling to the LGBT community?’ they said ‘yes please’ and a placement was born. Fast forward a year and the charity started to run in to financial difficulty, although the counselling service is blooming. What started as me on my own very quickly involved me taking on another counsellor and us running the service together. We felt that it was a bit TOO insecure – at one point we were four weeks away from a potential disaster, so we started looking for new premises. Having found those, it felt good to move on, so we are now becoming our own charity.
Moving from being a service under a charity to being our own charity has been hard work. Far harder than I thought it would be. The room was the easiest part, and chairs and a rug have been procured (and we get to take our lights and screen with us). But there has been the indemnity insurance (now almost sorted – thanks Howdens), and actually CREATING the charity. That has taken hours of form-filling. And, you can’t have only two trustees and at the time there were only two of us, so we approached a lesbian counsellor we know to ask if she wanted to join us. Luckily for us, she did. Also luckily my primary partner is an accountant and can be our treasurer. We also have a student from a local university who is doing some internship work for us and has created a website and will manage social media profiles etc.
But it feels like a weight of responsibility all of a sudden. I’ve been managing the waiting list forever (the main contact is my ‘work’ phone), but this feels much bigger. We’ve since also taken on a trainee/student (who will qualify to diploma level in sept and then continue on to a further qualification) and my colleague will do the management of trainees. It seems fair – I do the waiting list admin and she does the placement admin. When I qualify I’ll be able to do assessments for trainees as well (I do my own at the moment and my colleague does hers, and trainees’).
It’s been a lot of stuff to think through. Aims, objectives, potential fundings, how often we will meet, and so on It’s good, but very tiring! Right now, I’m waiting for our third trustee to send me back a sheet of paper so that I can get everyone ELSE to sign it and then I can upload it to the charities commission website. Hopefully we will be registered by the start of August when we move. Hopefully then I will be able to complete the bank account details also!
I’m worried I’ve forgotten something, but we will see, I’m sure. So that’s where I am. Moving on!