Louis Baylis Trust boosts counselling for local cancer patients

Relate MTB’s funded counselling for Berkshire cancer patients has been boosted by a £2,000 grant from the Louis Baylis Charitable Trust.

This specialist relationship and emotional counselling supports cancer patients, their partners and family through a stressful time, helping people to negotiate the emotional minefield of cancer treatment, filling a gap in psychological services.

Improving well-being and promoting recovery

Delivered by our counsellors who have received additional specialist training from Macmillan Nurses, sessions offer patients improved personal relationships, well-being and promote recovery. They provide psychological support to manage the difficulties and problems caused by illness and treatment, to come to terms with living with cancer, the impacts of treatment and life beyond cancer.

This comment from a recent client demonstrates the difference this counselling makes: “My six funded sessions have really helped me cope with my cancer diagnosis. I feel I have been able to process my thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. I’m not sure where I would be without these sessions but know I am in a better place because of them.”

Meeting the demand for specialist counselling

Fiona Greenfield, Centre Director at Relate MTB, says: “We are very grateful to The Louis Baylis Charitable Trust for granting £2,000 towards providing funded counselling for cancer patients in Berkshire. They join the Edward Gostling Foundation in supporting this vital, local service and we are in the process of applying to other local charitable organisations to ensure that we can continue to meet the demand”.

“Our clients referred during or after cancer treatment identify financial anxiety as an additional stress on their relationships during their treatment which is why we feel fully funding counselling is vital”.

How to refer

Patients can self-refer, by calling Relate MTB on 01628 625320; by emailing enquiries@relatemtb.co.uk

or through our website contact page http://www.relatemtb.co.uk/contact/

CNSs (Clinical Nursing Specialists) can also send referrals to us using the same contact details.

One assessment appointment and up to five counselling sessions are covered, these are held in either Maidenhead or Windsor.

If you know of a charitable organisation that would like to find out more about supporting RelateMTB, please email enquiries@relatemtb.co.uk

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Don’t Disappear – video to raise awareness of coercive control

On the 5th November 2019, The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) launched a video  ‘Don’t Disappear’ to raise awareness of relationship abuse.   This follows their ‘Know this isn’t Love’ campaign on coercive control from earlier in the year.  It was launched under the branding of Victims First.  Victims First supports victims and witnesses of crime across the Thames Valley and is managed by the OPCC.

‘Don’t Disappear’ tells the story of Jamie and Emma; from the seemingly loving early stages of their relationship, to the development of coercive and controlling behaviours such as jealousy and possessiveness, control, love bombing and isolation.

While anyone of any age can be a victim of coercive control, the video is targeted at younger people who have less relationship experience and people who are at the beginning of a relationship.  The aim of the video is to raise awareness of  the red flags – the early signs of coercive control which at the time, may be missed or misinterpreted as acceptable behaviour in a relationship, and where necessary signpost people to support.

The video can be viewed on YouTube  https://youtu.be/d6rt8w5HBWw

To view more information on the campaign, including the ‘Know this isn’t love’ materials please view the Victim’s First website here: https://www.victims-first.org.uk/crime-info/guidance-and-support/coercive-control/

Don’t let the ghosts of Christmas past haunt your relationship this year

“The impact of Christmas on a relationship is massive,” warns a Relate MTB counsellor. “And with the Christmas build-up starting earlier every year the stress starts early too.”

As Christmas lights are switched on and our ‘to do’ lists grow longer, Relate MTB’s expert counsellors offer 5 easy tips to ensure that the ghosts of your Christmas past don’t ruin Christmas present.

Just like the three ghosts in Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol, our counsellors have identified three potential pitfalls for couples – whether it is your first Christmas together or whether you need to bury the memories of disastrous festivities last Christmas, couples often have clashing hopes from Christmas, either repeating previous happy memories or avoiding past disasters.

  • Money – how much is it acceptable to spend and on what?
  • Families & friends – who do you each want to spend Christmas with, and for how long? Your expectations may differ and your in-laws might have different expectations too. This can be a notoriously tricky area for new couples, newly-weds and new parents.
  • Alcohol – too much Christmas cheer can cause Christmas misery, whether you or your partner over indulges or whether your guests’ or hosts’ drinking causes embarrassing, hurtful or violent behaviour.

The solution to all three is to start a conversation about Christmas early, says Relate MTB counsellor ‘Wendy’*.

“It always comes down to better communicating,” she says. “But make sure you start the conversation well in advance and tackle one issue at a time. Plans get locked down earlier than ever and then people can feel trapped.”

Relate MTB’s Top Tips for Christmas present:

  1. Never agree an arrangement until you have discussed it with your partner; never assume it is what you both want.
    Counsellor’s advice: A useful response to an invitation to spend Christmas Day is ‘That sounds really interesting, thanks for the invitation, let me check and get back to you’. This gives you time to discuss what you both want and to think of a strategy if you don’t want to accept. That might be ‘We would love to come to you at 4pm’ rather than committing to the whole day.
  2. Ask an open question. This is especially important for parents whose adult children are in a new relationship, newly-weds or new parents.

Counsellor’s advice: Instead of saying ‘Come and spend Christmas Day with us,’ ask ‘What would you like to do for Christmas this year?’ And suggest they talk it over and call you back later with a response. If you are going to reject an invitation, work out a kind strategy together. If you have always spent Christmas Day with your mum and dad or in-laws but would prefer to do your own thing, why not suggest a compromise this year leading up to a complete change next year?

  1. Discuss what makes Christmas special for you.

Counsellor’s advice: This should be your first conversation – the earlier the better. Is it about putting your feet up and not going anywhere? Or is it about going to as many parties as possible and seeing all your friends? Or perhaps spending time with family and having active days out? Who loves to welcome everyone around for food, drink and games and who wants to shut the front door and chill out? Discussing this early allows you to fulfil Christmas for both of you – even if it means building in some time apart to do your own thing.

  1. Agree a budget in advance.

Counsellor’s advice: Money can be a huge pressure, children have high expectations and we feel the need to spend a lot, regardless of whether we can afford to. It’s a common difference in couples for one to be a natural saver and the other a natural spender and that gets exacerbated at Christmas. Again, have a conversation early on about what you can afford, work out a strategy such as giving home-made presents to relatives and agreeing a limit on what you will spend on gifts for people. The secret is to talk about it before it becomes an area of conflict.

  1. Get out in the fresh air whatever the weather.

Counsellor’s advice: Something as simple as changing the setting can ease tensions. Unless you are working over Christmas, you are likely to be cooped up together 24/7, often with extra guests too, the kids are off school and all normal routine stops. It’s the worst time of year for weather, the days are short and it is easy to feel trapped so wrap up warm and take the whole family out for a long walk, whatever the weather.

Open, honest, non-judgmental conversations are the key to a happy relationship – and not just at Christmas time. Relate MTB provides a safe space with an expert relationship counsellor to talk about your feelings, your past experiences and how they affect you emotionally. Why not treat each other to a relationship MOT this Christmas? Visit www.relatemtb.co.uk  or call Relate MTB on 01628 625320 to make an appointment.

Edward Gostling Foundation Visit

Renu Ghale, Grants Manager and colleague Julie Stearn from the Edward Gostling Foundation visited Relate Mid Thames and Bucks at 4 Marlow Road Community centre to meet with Relate MTB Chair – Janice Campbell, Relate Counsellor – Petra Booth, Relate Centre Director – Fiona Greenfield and RBWM Councillor – Phil Haseler.

Edward Gostling has awarded a grant to Relate MTB to fund limited counselling sessions for Berkshire patients going through cancer.

see previous post for more details

Edward Gostling Foundation funds sessions for Berkshire cancer patients

Relate MTB is able to provide a limited number of funded counselling sessions for cancer patients in Berkshire thanks to a grant from The Edward Gostling Foundation (www.edwardgostlingfoundation.org.uk).

Caroline Kendall, EGF’s Operations Director said:

“The Edward Gostling Foundation is delighted to support Relate MTB with a grant to help to support people with a diagnosis of cancer.  We believe that any person living with an illness / disability and their loved ones should be able to access the best possible care for their health and wellbeing”.

This counselling is available to people in Berkshire affected by a cancer diagnosis, and their loved ones, to help to navigate their relationships through the psychological and emotional impacts, improving health and well-being.

Patients can self-refer, by calling Relate MTB on 01628 625320; by emailing enquiries@relatemtb.co.uk or through our website http://www.relatemtb.co.uk/contact/ 
CNS’s (Clinical Nursing Specialists) can also send  referrals to us using the same contact details.

1 assessment appointment and up to 5 counselling sessions are covered, these are held in either Maidenhead or Windsor.

Impacts of cancer on relationships

Our experienced counsellors, who have had extra training in cancer awareness, can meet with you on your own, with your partner, or with other family members including children, parents or siblings to help you talk through:
• changes and problems with relationships because one of you has cancer
• difficulties talking to and supporting each other
• problems talking to children, or parents and other relatives about cancer
• challenges in getting ‘back to normal’, as a couple or family, when cancer treatment is finished
• the impact on intimacy and sex life resulting from surgery, treatment, altered body image, tiredness or anxiety.

One recent Relate MTB client, referred by her nurse after successful cancer treatment, said: “It has been the worst year of my life but I have conquered so much, I feel that I have come out the other end stronger than ever thanks to the counselling I received from Relate.”

Relate MTB is continuing to apply for grants to extend provision of this funded counselling so please email sally.stevens@relatemmtb.co.uk if know of any charitable organisations that may be able to help.

A New Programme For Parents

Relate MTB is working in partnership with Tavistock Relationships as part of the Parenting Together Support Programme for people living in Buckinghamshire.  Funding is  provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and is available for two years from 2019-2021.

Sessions are free to couples who are together or separated who have children, workless families will be given priority.  During the programme both partners will have the opportunity to work on their relationship, be given support by a Relate Counsellor to find ways to overcome stress and disagreements by learning new techniques and obtain tools to achieve a more positive parenting experience.

All referrals need to come through the central gateway.  If you feel you are working with a Buckinghamshire family who maybe suitable for this programme then please contact Relate MTB by email: enquiries@relatemtb.co.uk or call: 01628 625320 and we would be happy to assist you.

For more details please read our Information for Referrers sheet



SWAMI 2019

On Saturday 27th July Relate Mid Thames and Bucks took part in this year’s Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead Community Initiative SWAMI 2019.  Relate MTB set up a stall alongside 20 other stall holders all local community organisations and charities.  Relate MTB showcased it’s recent funding from The Edward Gostling Foundation – a grant to support people living in Berkshire to access cancer counselling as well as its other work offering therapeutic supporting to individuals, couple and families.

Emma Winter, Relate MTB Operations Manager said “Despite a rainy start the event went very well, we managed to give out a lot of our publicity material – Relate lollies, pens and most importantly literature about our work.  Most people in Windsor didn’t seem to realise that we have a venue locally so it was good to inform them that we are based in Apple Physio on Osbourne Road opposite the Princess Margaret Hospital Map and directions.

Thanks to the Louis Baylis Trust

Maidenhead’s Louis Baylis Charitable Trust has awarded £2,000 towards the cost of maintaining our excellent standards of relationship counselling for local people.

The grant will help to provide CPD (Continuing Professional and Development) and training to our team of counsellors in 2019-2020.

Our annual programme of CPD and training ensures that clients continue to benefit from our counsellors’ up-to-date knowledge and insights into the challenges that the broad range of challenges and issues life throws at us have on our relationships as couples, families and individuals of all ages.

In addition our training programme ensures that our team have the latest information and contacts to be able to make the most appropriate interventions and referrals to other local organisations, including for people whose relationships are affected by drug and/or alcohol dependency, domestic violence, sexual abuse, abusive relationships and controlling behaviour.

Our commitment to quality CPD and training also helps Relate MTB in attracting high calibre qualified counsellors and new counsellors in training. (For more about becoming a Relate MTB counsellor please visit our Work for Relate page)

Centre Director Fiona Greenfield said: “We are very grateful to the Trustees of the Louis Baylis Charitable Trust for their continued support and for their recognition of the value Relate MTB brings to our community. Their understanding of local needs and the contributions that small, local charities like ours make is a real asset to local people.”


Relate MTB opens new counselling room at Chiltern Hills Academy, Chesham

Relate Mid Thames & Buckinghamshire (Relate MTB) is delighted to be offering relationship counselling in Chesham in a new comfortable, accessible setting thanks to Chiltern Hills Academy.

Our professional counsellors are providing local support for couples, individuals and families.

Relate MTB Centre Director, Fiona Greenfield, said: “We have already been made to feel very welcome in our new setting and I want to thank everyone at Chiltern Hills Academy and within our own team who have made this very positive move possible.

“Chiltern Hills Academy is a real community hub and we are proud to be adding another dimension to the services that are already on offer here. They stepped in when we were told we needed to leave the Chess Centre and we are so pleased to offer existing and new clients a convenient, informal and relaxing setting for our vital service.”

Kevin Patrick, Principal of Chiltern Hills Academy, said: “We are pleased that Relate MTB approached us.  We are a school that strives to be at the heart of the community. Our values and ethos are based around the seven Christian values of love, hope, compassion, respect, forgiveness, honesty and self-discipline, the work undertaken by Relate MTB clearly embodies these values.”

Relate MTB’s team of highly qualified counsellors serve the local community, including disadvantaged and vulnerable people, providing a high quality, reliable and confidential service for people who are feeling isolated and vulnerable.

Although the charity requests a fee from clients who are in a position to pay, many are not and the balance of the cost of delivering skilled, expert counselling and support is met from Relate MTB’s Bursary Funding Scheme.

To make an appointment for relationship counselling at Chiltern Hills Academy, Chartridge Lane, Chesham HP5 2RG, please call Relate MTB on 01494 791180 or email enquiries@relatemtb.co.uk

Relate MTB is a local, independent charity, offering professional relationship counselling, find out more at www.relatemtb.co.uk

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