Step forward for plans for counselling and drop in centre for people with mental health difficulties in Norfolk town

Anita Clarke, centre, at Green Pastures Community Hub on Norwich Street in Dereham. Picture: Archant

Anita Clarke, centre, at Green Pastures Community Hub on Norwich Street in Dereham. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Plans for a counselling service and drop in centre to help people with mental health issues in Dereham have moved closer to completion.

The services, which are part of the new Green Pastures Community Hub in Norwich Street, will offer counselling for those with mental health issues, as well as a drop in facility, aimed at young people at risk of suicide.

Anita Clarke, from Love Dereham, the group behind The Listening Post drop in project, said that counselling, delivered by 4Cs Christian charity, would be taking place during the day from July, and The Listening Post would be open in the late afternoons and evenings hopefully from September.

"This is an exciting new space that will used by a variety of different people with mental health issues. We are very pleased to be working in partnership with 4Cs counselling and Dereham Baptist Church to deliver the project." she said

"We are looking at a variety of different activities taking place in the unit, including counselling, drop in facilities and a reflective prayer space."

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An application to change the use of the vacant 24 sqm site, on Norwich Street, from retail to the counselling service was sent to planning authority Breckland Council during the week ending Tuesday, June 11, and did not propose any building works.

It states: "The premises has been used for many years as a shop, most recently selling sewing and embroidery prerequisites.

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"The application is for change of use from a retail premises to a counselling or drop in centre for people with mental health issues.

"The drop in facility will be aimed particularly at young people at risk of suicide.

"The premises will also be used from time to time as an area for prayer and meditation."

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The 4Cs described as "a voluntary organisation offering compassionate, client-centred counselling at affordable rates" have centres in Norwich, King's Lynn and an existing set up in Dereham where they are currently based at the town's Baptist Church.

The service, which will be based in a listing building which formerly housed the embroidery shop Stitch Up Look Sharp, will not require employment of any staff or need any parking spaces.

There were no objections to the proposal from Highways or the historic buildings consultant.

The council will make their decision on the plans for the new service by Friday, August 2.

What do you think about the plans for the new Dereham counselling and drop in service? Email to share your thoughts about the project.

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