Brief look at Bedfordshire Open Door
Over the years
The project is overseen by a skilled and dedicated group of local trustees and is effectively managed and administered by professional staff and delivered by a team of professionally qualified volunteer and paid counsellors. In 2018 we introduced a scheme to host a number of student counsellors on placement in their final year of training. We have also developed specialist areas of delivery including counselling for young unaccompanied asylum seekers, homeless young people living in local hostels, onsite school services and group work. All counselling work is supported by the expertise of qualified and experienced clinical supervisors.
Over the years we have been funded by local authorities, delivered commissioned services for GP partnerships and the NHS and received generous support from a number of national and local grant making trusts.
In 2019 an external evaluation of our service and a series of focus groups with young people helped to shape the future vision. This co-creation approach was embedded to ensure the voice of young people is at the heart of what we do. We identified a clear priority to extend our services into the rural communities of central and north Bedfordshire. A key strategic aim is to ensure our service meets the needs of marginalised groups including young people living in hostel accommodation, young asylum seekers and refugees, young people from black and minority ethnic groups, young people who are LGBTQ+ , victims of crime and those who use/are affected by drugs and alcohol.
In 2020 COVID-19 led to a dramatic change in service delivery as the world faced lockdown and people needed to access services in different ways. The management team worked quickly to develop new ways of working to ensure a continued service for our clients. Our counsellors rose to the challenge and delivered telephone and online counselling from their homes, as schools and our Tavistock Centre closed to face to face working. To embed this way of working the service invested in an 80-hour ACTO accredited professional qualification for our counselling team to ensure practice meets the BACP standards for telephone and online working. A new blended service delivery model was born and will be further strengthened and refined as we move towards 2021.
The service has grown over the past 25 years and now offers circa 3500 hours of counselling to nearly 500 young people per annum.