What Centre Queens Award .gallery .jpg

A volunteer counselling scheme that helps more than 100 children and young people a week has been nominated for a West Midlands PCC Outstanding Citizens award.

The volunteering team at The What? Centre in Coventry Street, Stourbridge, helps young people aged between 13 and 25 who are troubled or battling mental health issues.

All of the volunteers are trained counsellors who give up their free time to help 120 youngsters a week via 5,500 sessions a year. They volunteer on weekdays, evenings and weekends and the scheme is proving so successful, there is currently a waiting list of 120.

The scheme is in the running to be named West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Outstanding Community Project at the Outstanding Citizens awards on July 13 at The REP in Birmingham.

Chief officer Julie Duffy said: “We have been going for 31 years and help young people battling issues such as addiction, eating disorders and sexual abuse.

“It is wonderful to see the young people thrive and become more confident and get into employment as a result of the work.

“The vast majority of people here are volunteers and I am very very proud of them all. It is an incredible feeling to see the young people’s lives improve – they bring the counsellors chocolates and cards to say thank you and that’s so heart-warming to see.

“We are achieving real results and I’m so pleased, thrilled and glad the counsellors are getting the recognition they deserve.

“Everybody is aware of the mental health issues facing our country and there is a real need to work with young people and children as a priority and there needs to be more projects like this.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The awards are our chance to say ‘thank you’ to those people who make the West Midlands a better place.

“The volunteer counsellors are making a real difference in young people’s lives and they should feel very proud of the excellent results they achieve. Well done to all involved and good luck on awards night.”

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