About Cambridge Lifeskills
Cambridge Lifeskills provides a free counselling service to the fifteen schools in the Cambridge district. The counsellors work with children in the five to fifteen years age group. The counsellors find it is frequently necessary if not essential to also include families in the work they do with the children.
The counselling service has become an integral part of the support network available to the children of Cambridge. Being local enables families with children in different schools to be seen and counselled in their familiar school environment. It also allows for close monitoring of the referred children. The counsellors work with the children in their base schools, negating the need for children to travel during the school day.
There have been traumatic incidents occur in the Cambridge schools and having ready access to counsellors in the community has benefited children and school staff at these difficult times.
Since the service began in 1995 there has been a steady increase in the need for such a service in the community. Currently there are two trained counsellors and three counsellors-in-training working for Cambridge Lifeskills. Time and need has led to an increase in the number of personnel needed from the two counsellors the Trust originally employed. In 2010 there were 93 referrals made to Cambridge Lifeskills. In 2006 there were 84 referrals.
Changes in society have meant many children are now exposed to an increasing range and number of adult issues. Children do not have the skills to deal with adult agendas but they are with encouragement and support becoming more willing to talk through their personal situation with trusted adults such as the Cambridge Lifeskills counsellors.
The trained counsellors have a maximum workload of ten cases and the trainees work with a maximum of five clients each. Naturally the time needed to work through issues with each child cannot be predicted.
The counsellors are now more frequently working with clients who have been exposed to accidental death, suicide, sexual, verbal and physical abuse, family separation and bullying (cyber and physical). There are an increasing number of one parent families and children being raised by grandparents. The ramifications of these parental situations raise yet another set of issues for counsellors to work through with children. The need for anger management skills and strategies by young children has seen an increased focus in this area of counselling.
We as a group take the opportunity to share with the Cambridge community the generosity of funding groups. We acknowledge these funding groups through school newsletters, at our Annual General Meeting, in newspaper interviews and recently during radio interviews. Because we appreciate the support received we know the importance of acknowledging the generosity to the wider community.Our Lifeskills Day is the first Tuesday in November of each year.