Fifers invited to donate a gift through launch of new service

Fifers are being invited to support a new Gift Counselling service which officially launched in Kirkcaldy this week.

Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS) is launching a new Gift Counselling Service - asking people to donate cash to help pay counselling fees for those who can't afford private sessions. From left: Donald Grieve, John Hamilton, Jim Bett and sitting Helen Bushnell, and Mhairi Owens. Pic: George McLuskie.

The donations-based scheme is being run by Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS), which is based in Tolbooth Street, with the charity aiming to bring affordable counselling to locals.

The idea behind Gift Counselling is to provide private counselling to those who are struggling and can’t afford the private fees.

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With sessions often starting at around £40, the suggested minimum donation of £20 aims to put the service within reach of those less well off.

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Although FASS supports Fifers with alcohol-related problems, the charity stresses that the Gift Counselling service is a general counselling service for those struggling to cope with everyday life or having difficulties with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

John Hamilton, FASS chairman, said the charity has over 40 years of counselling experience and is a COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland) recognised agency.

He said: “But Gift is not a specialist service, it’s for everyone. Whatever daily issues people are struggling with, this service will help them explore these and move towards solutions that work for them.

“We’ve called it Gift because taking care of our mental health is our gift to ourselves. Clients donating as much as they can is their gift to an affordable service for others.”

Donald Grieve, volunteer counsellor, added: “We know that a lot of people are struggling with increased everyday pressures right now. Waiting lists for NHS or charity counselling can be long and sometimes even closed. And not everyone can afford private fees for counselling.”

He added: “I am happy to donate my time as a counsellor and I hope that clients will donate whatever cash they can afford, so those less well-off, can also benefit.”

The charity is also looking for qualified counsellors to donate their time. Gift Counselling will be available on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9pm in Tolbooth Street. Call 01592 747638 or email: [email protected]