Diocese of Portsmouth

    Founder retires from counselling service

    26 Sept. 2022

    ONE of the founders of a volunteer counselling service based in one of our churches has retired after 30 years.

    Jackie Brookfield retired from the All Saints Counselling Service, having been involved from the beginning - around 30 years ago. Jackie is a qualified and BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) accredited counsellor. At the start it was the vision of Jackie and the Rev Len Fox - the then vicar of All Saints Church - to provide affordable counselling and support to the residents of the inner city of Portsmouth where All Saints is located. 

    The two downstairs rooms in All Saints Centre provided the ideal, confidential welcoming space to see clients. From very small beginnings, there began a voluntary counselling service, operating within BACP guidelines, that has lasted 30 years.

    Not only was the aim to provide affordable counselling to residents in the inner city and wider Diocese but to also be a supportive place for priests to meet and talk through the challenges of their vocation. A clergy support group was supervised by Jackie for several years, providing a space for ministers to share the difficulties and joys in ministry.

    Over the past 30 years, Jackie has been a counsellor, supervisor of counsellors and director of the service, using her skills, friendship and thoughtful management to provide support to the many clients coming through the service - and also encouraging and supporting the counsellors who gradually joined the service over the years.

    In 2019 the counselling service became part of the Portsmouth Diocesan Council for Social Responsibility (CSR) and as a consequence has benefitted and been supported by the team at CSR. Jackie was fully supportive of this move.

    Jackie Brookfield with the Rev Len Fox

    Colleague Jenny Stemp said: "Prayer and love are at the heart of everything Jackie does and when we needed more counsellors, we were encouraged to pray for them. During the past 30 years, the service has expanded from a handful of qualified counsellors to a group who are now highly motivated, professionally trained and qualified, many to degree level.

    "The counsellors give of their time voluntarily and the clients donate to the service according to their abilities, and no one is turned away because they cannot pay. The counselling service is there for everyone whether they have a faith or none.

    "This was the vision that Jackie and Len had from the beginning and at this important milestone, marking Jackie’s retirement, it is good to report that the work she started 30 years ago continues to offer counselling to the people in and around Portsmouth. We wish Jackie a long, happy and healthy retirement.

    For more information about the counselling service ring 07464 477994, email allsaintscounselling@gmail.com or see www.allsaintscounselling.org.uk

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