Nicola Brister Young Persons’ Counsellor

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I have been working with children and young people for more than 15 years in both education and social care establishments, as well as being a mother to two teenage daughters. I discovered the part of my job I loved most was working one to one and seeing young people overcome their difficulties and flourish as individuals. I decided to go back into education and now hold a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. 
I am also an SSAT Lead Practitioner in Social and Emotional Development as well as a registered member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy.  I have spent the last four years working as a counsellor in local secondary schools and I often find other family members are also in need of some support. I wanted to form a service that offers people free, or affordable counselling, from childhood through to old age, in one place…… and with lots of help Don’t Lose Hope was established.


Mrs Charlie Norton
BA (Hons), PGCE, P.G.Dip. in CBT for CYP (seeking accreditation)

I qualified as a classroom teacher in 1991 and have specialised in working with children with Specific Learning Difficulties for the past 12 years, developing a particular interest in promoting positive mental health and emotional well-being.
Over the past four years I have retrained to be a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and in 2017 was awarded a Post-Graduate Diploma in CBT for Children and Young People from University College London. During this time I also became a qualified FRIENDS trainer, a manualised programme to promote emotional well-being and resilience in children and young people. Since then, I have worked with young people experiencing difficulties associated with anxiety, low mood and poor self-esteem in schools and in the wider community.
I believe every child deserves the chance to be happy, irrespective of background or personal circumstances. An inherently positive person, I’m optimistic about peoples’ intentions and abilities and am passionate about helping young people who are experiencing emotional and mental health difficulties to overcome them.
I am very pleased to be part of the Don’t Lose Hope team.

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Angie Baynham Adult Counsellor


I work as a person-centred counsellor, and my aim is to provide a safe, supportive and confidential environment in which you can talk about anything that may be troubling you. Talking about and exploring feelings can help you to understand them. The way I work is not to offer advice, rather to work with you to help you to find your own way forward.
I work with adults age 16+, and have experience in many issues, including anxiety, depression, panic attacks, stress, relationship breakdown, infertility, aging, suicidal thoughts, to name a few.
I graduated from uni with a B.Pharm (Hons) but then worked in the world of publishing for many years. It was while bringing up my two children that I developed a growing interest in what makes people tick and I then retrained as a counsellor. I now hold a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and am an Accredited Member of the National Counselling Society.
Making counselling more accessible to everyone is something I strongly believe in and Don’t Lose Hope provides a fantastic opportunity to deliver this. I am so excited to be part of the Don’t Lose Hope team.


Tracey Peplow Adult and Young Peoples’ Counsellor

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At times life can feel overwhelming and it can be difficult to see how we can move forward or make things better for ourselves. The reality is that we could all benefit from a little help from time to time. I work with both adults and young people (from six years upwards), helping with a wide range of mental health issues and supporting them through difficult life experiences.
l am particularly passionate about young peoples’ mental health and in helping young people to navigate the often difficult journey from adolescence to adulthood. The adolescent years can often be an emotional roller coaster, full of highs and lows and the perfect breeding ground for worry, anxiety and a whole host of other challenges.
I also provide support and understanding for those of us who have suffered the loss of a beloved pet. Sometimes, friends, family or colleagues don’t quite understand the upset that losing a pet can bring and grieving for a pet can be a very lonely experience. Sometimes it helps to share these feelings with someone who knows from personal experience how distressing pet loss can be and who will listen with compassion and without judgement.
I am an experienced, qualified counsellor and a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, working to their code of ethics. I am a humanistic-integrative counsellor, which means that I draw on a framework of different therapeutic models, using them creatively and flexibly in order to meet the specific needs and personal circumstances of each individual person.
I believe the creation of Don’t Lose Hope gives us the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people in our community and I am truly delighted and excited to be part of the team.

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Ruth Dawes – Play Therapist

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I currently work with children in the primary & junior school setting, offering short and long term Play Therapy for children with emotional, social, behavioural, or developmental difficulties. I love this work, and am constantly amazed at what children can work through given the right therapeutic conditions. While it can sometimes be challenging, I feel passionate about the benefits of offering this service. Play Therapy draws on the creative arts, offering children a wide range of media for self-expression, including art, clay, musical instruments, puppets, movement, role play, and sand play. I also work as a supervisor and trainer in Cruse Bereavement Care, having previously volunteered as a counsellor offering both adult and child bereavement support within the agency.
I originally qualified as an adult counsellor in 2008, following what felt like a calling into this work. I became involved in the children and young people’s service within Cruse, and quickly realised that children need a very different kind of support if they are to be truly allowed to express themselves fully. This spurred me on to do further training in non-directive Play Therapy. I qualified as a Therapeutic Play Practitioner in 2013, and have been working in schools and private practice since then. I am currently in my final year of further training as a Play Therapist. In addition I have trained in clay and creative arts therapies, and have recently completed part 1 of a PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills.
I feel excited about the service being offered by Don’t Lose Hope, and am delighted to be involved in this new initiative.
Dip. Therapeutic Counselling, PG Cert. Therapeutic Play Skills, PQ Creative Arts Training, PQ Clay Therapy Training, PQ Cert. in Sandplay Skills Part 1, Provisional Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy, MBACP, PTUK

Lynda Smith

Linda Smith Counsellor for Adults and Children & Young People

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I decided to train as a counsellor after completing my studies in psychology with the Open University.
Counselling felt like a natural next step, in that it offered an opportunity to meaningfully apply my learning.  But more importantly, I was drawn to counselling because of an enduring desire to be able to offer the right kind of support to others experiencing difficulties.
Since qualifying with a diploma in therapeutic counselling in 2015, I have worked in primary, secondary schools and further education colleges.  I have also worked with both adults and children in my role as a bereavement support volunteer with Cruse Bereavement Care.
As a person centred counsellor, I work with clients to help them gain a greater self-understanding and awareness in the context of their current and past experiences.  A basic premise of this approach is that the client is the expert on him or herself.  The role of the counsellor is to facilitate self-exploration in a safe and non-judgmental space, so that the client can gain clarity on how to bring about positive change in his or her life.  When appropriate I draw on techniques from other approaches to meet the specific needs of the client. I am also a qualified practitioner in therapeutic play skills.
Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling; Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with Children and Young People (East London University); Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills (APAC); Level 2 Awareness in Bereavement Care (Cruse); Working with Children and Young People (Cruse Bereavement Care); BSc Hons & MSc Psychology (Open University). I am a registered member of the British Association Counselling and Psychotherapy and a registered trainee member of Play Therapy UK. 
I am really excited about the future of Don’t Lose Hope and feel genuinely privileged to be a member of the team.


Edwina Hawkridge

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Hi, I’m Edwina an experienced and qualified counsellor and a registered member of the BACP.  My background is in civil services where I served the community and assisted in changing peoples lives. I retrained several years ago and now work as a person-centred counsellor, which means that I believe people, when given the right circumstances (within the therapy room) can overcome adversity and make changes.  Exploring feelings and emotions can be tricky for some, I work in a way that best suits my client’s needs whether that is through sitting and talking or doing something creative whilst counselling takes place. I have been working with children, young people and adults for several years, tailoring counselling so that it is bespoke to meet their needs.  A specialism of mine is working with Eating Disorders and Obesity as both can make people feel miserable.
I also work as a trainer and private Counsellor. Educating businesses, charities and individuals on how they can best support good mental health, this is a passion of mine and something I really enjoy.
I work in schools and community-based environments to deliver counselling to those people who feel they need it most and have experience helping with a wide range of mental health and life issues.
Experience in this field has taught me that counselling can help people through uncertain or worrying times in their lives. I believe that there should be more low-cost counselling to support the ever-changing needs of the community which is why I am delighted to be a counsellor for Don’t Lose Hope.

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Natalie Orgles

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Life gets tough sometimes and no matter our age or life experience we could all do with someone to talk to, someone to listen to the worries, someone to help pick it all apart , someone who won’t judge you for saying what you think out loud, someone who can help you figure out “What’s it all about?”!
I have always been passionate about people and have had a number of roles where, mentoring, coaching and developing people have been key. These skills have supported my role into counselling and helped me to understand what we all need to get through those tough times.
We have lots of people ‘telling’ us what to do in a certain situation, I won’t do that. I will use my skills and experience to help you to understand yourself, no matter the worry.
I can be your someone!
I feel lucky to be able to work for Don’t Lose Hope and privileged to be able to play a part in changing lives in the local community.

I trained as an Art Therapist in the mid 1980’s and have been utilising these skills for over 30 years in a number of establishments including Schools, Social Services, NHS and privately. I have experience of working 1-1, in pairs and group work with all ages. To attend Art Therapy you do not have to be good at art it requires the person to be open to using a variety of art materials to depict feelings, thoughts and ideas etc.
Art Therapy is an established psychological therapy with its roots based in the 1940s when its value was recognized to relieve stress and helped to express strong emotions (such as fear, grief and trauma). There is now research evidence that highlights how the process of art making releases the feel good chemicals in the brain. Art Therapy is about using art as a form of self expression that can stand alone and or complement the spoken word. Sometimes it can be hard to talk directly about difficulties and feelings so communicating through another medium may be easier or more appropriate.
With the Therapist, meaning can be given to the images to bring, insight, healing, hope, restoration and understanding to the problems we have. It may help relieve the distress we feel that can take the joy out of life. Using our hands to make sense of our troubles can increase our general well being put us in a better place to find solutions and help ourselves to a happier place. I believe Art therapy is accessible to all and can assist in the treatment of various issues including: Depression, Posttraumatic stress, Post Natal Depression, Poor Self image, Anxiety, Neurological conditions i.e. brain damage, MS, Dementia, Personality Disorders, Young people with emotional difficulties, Health/physical issues, Bereavement, Self harm, Bullying, It can also help us improve our fine motor skills and hand and eye co-ordination.
I do hope you have a snapshot view of Art Therapy, there is a lot more to the benefits of art for well being and you can discover that for yourself should you choose the mode of Art Therapy. I am passionate about the arts and have used it to support others and rehabilitated myself when required to a happier place.
‘My aim is not to fix you, for you are not broken it is to assist you to find your own solutions to your life’
 I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to work for DLH, a truly inspiring organisation set up to support those in need of emotional support.
Postgraduate Diploma in Art Therapy, BA (Hons) Ceramics with Glass Design, Post-Graduate Certificate In Education, Diploma in Body Massage Manicure/Pedicure and Reflexology.
Member: BAAT (The British Association of Art Therapists) and hcpc Health Care & Professionals Council.


Justine Want
Young Person and Adult Counsellor


Jo Davey
Person Centred Counsellor & Clinical Supervisor.

I am a qualified Integrative Counsellor, registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Additional training has included The Sherwood Institute, ‘Working with Children and Young People’, Keele University ‘An introduction to working with Nature’, Cambridge College, Post-Graduate Diploma in ‘Adlerian Person-Centred Supervision for the Helping Professions’ as well as a variety of theoretical and experiential workshops and courses. I strive towards providing a humanistic, holistic and person-centred approach to my work, working with my clients to meet their individual needs.
I have a private practice, work with Cruse Bereavement Care as a Bereavement Volunteer, Supervisor and Trainer as well as having worked with the YMCA Young Person’s Counselling Service from 2014, until it’s closure in 2017. I feel very excited about the ethos behind Don’t Lose Hope and the counselling service it offers; and feel privileged to be a part of the Counselling Team. I wish all who are concerned with charity heartfelt good wishes for a successful future.
My passion behind counselling is rooted from working in a school environment for over 35 years where I noticed a steady decline in children’s’ mental health.  This led me to be curious about ways of supporting children, which in turn, led to a change of career in the field of counselling.  I am a mother of two adult children, a girl and boy aged 30 and 28 respectively, and also a grandmother of two and counting, all of whom hold my heart full of joy.

Aimee Lewis

Things happen in life which can leave you feeling confused, bringing up thoughts and feelings which can feel uncomfortable and difficult to make sense of.
I will sit with you in a compassionate space where you can explore those thoughts and feelings – where you are listened to and heard with no judgements or opinions. Relationships and how we relate to others, is, I believe at the core of us all. Counselling allows you the chance to explore your relationships, emotions and emotional history along with life experiences if that is what you wish to process in order for your life to be as you want it to be.
I am proud to be a counsellor as part of Don’t Lose Hope and have worked with people from 16 years upwards using different approaches depending on what it is the client wishes to bring to counselling. Don’t
Lose Hope is an amazing charity that enables counselling to be available to as many people as possible in the community.
As well as face to face counselling I am also a walking therapist. Being outside amongst nature provides a different space for counselling bringing emotional health, wellbeing and nature together.

Charlie Farmer

People come to counselling for all sorts of reasons.  Sometimes it’s about looking for change, sometimes it’s about learning to accept what we cannot change.  Throughout our life there are times when we all need a little help.  My role as a person centered counsellor is to provide a warm, empathic, and supportive space for clients to talk through and think about whatever it is that they need help with.  It is a privilege to work with both adults and young people and be part of the team at Don’t Lose Hope. 

Claire Murrell

Like many of us who are drawn to this profession it was my own struggle with mental health issues as a young person that sparked my interest in self-awareness and helping others. So after 30 years working as a jewellery designer and maker I decided to re-train in something new.

I attended the Sherwood Institute in Nottingham where I gained a degree in Humanistic and Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy. As part of that training I was lucky enough to be offered a placement at ‘Don’t Lose Hope’. I feel privileged to be a part of such an inspirational project that directly benefits our local community. Alongside my work at the charity I also counsel in a local secondary school. My past experience includes time spent counselling in a men’s prison.

These opportunities have enabled me to work with clients as young as 11 right up to clients in their 80’s. Some of this issues I have worked with include: anxiety, depression, bereavement, attachment, poor self-esteem, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. 

In a world where poor mental health has reached epidemic proportions I feel passionate that everyone should have the opportunity to access affordable support when needed, an ethos I share with the charity.

I take a holistic view to well-being, believing that mind, body and spirit are inter-connected and that attention to all three is essential for us to reach our full potential in life. Counselling can assist us on that life-long journey.