Groups, befriending and counselling


Emotional support (includes befriending, counselling and support groups)

Our aim is to offer a friendly, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere for carers to talk about aspects of their caring role, confidentially in a non-judgmental way.  You can drop into the centre and talk in confidence to a member of staff about any aspect of your caring role.  Alternatively, a member of staff can support you over the telephone or arrange to meet with you at a time and a place that suits you.  We can also arrange for more specialist support if required.

Befriending and friendship

As a carer you may feel isolated and just need someone to connect with.  Caring can be incredibly emotionally draining and coupled with a lack of support networks, carers can often find themselves close to breaking point.

In these instances, our Befriending Service might be able to help.  You could gain support from a fully trained volunteer from our Befriending Service, offering support with caring issues, health, worries, confidence building and of course, support to develop a better social life.  The team are here to offer a listening ear, through regular phone calls.

We also understand how time is precious for carers and sometimes a phone call isn’t the most convenient method of communicating.  Accordingly, we have expanded our Befriending Services by connecting carers to volunteer befrienders who can regularly offer support though emails or letter writing.

For carers who are deaf or hard of hearing, writing a letter or even an email can be ideal for those who want a lighter befriending option that fits in with their caring role.

Our Volunteer and Befriending Coordinator, Catherine Ellis said “It can make a world of difference to connect with someone who has some idea of what you’re going through.  Developing the befriending service in this way will help us to build more relationships with isolated carers.  The current pandemic and continued restrictions can make everyone feel lonely and has meant that we continue to be physically distanced from each other. This leaves many carers feeling further disconnected.

Our volunteer befrienders are matched to carers to provide companionship and emotional support and give them information on a range of activities and services that can help them increase their confidence and sociability.”

The feedback we get from carers about this service is overwhelmingly positive.  Befriending makes a significant positive impact on their lives and helps them sustain the role of carer for longer.

To benefit from any of our befriending services, please contact us to get started.  Email: info@wlcccarers.com, call 01942 705959, or write to us Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre, 3-5 Frederick Street, Hindley, Wigan, WN2 3BD.

Counselling services

Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre are increasingly supporting carers with their own anxiety and mental health, as well as assisting in a huge number of practical ways.  We know that being a carer can be challenging at times, which is why our friendly and compassionate team are with you every step of the way to make sure you receive the best possible support.

We operate a free and confidential counselling service to adult carers and former carers registered with the service.

Areas covered by counselling can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Bereavement
  • Relationships within the family
  • Divorce/separation
  • Illness, accident or trauma

Recently we have teamed up with Making Space a wellbeing service in the area, and now have access to a qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP) who can offer a one-to-one assessment with you to find out what kind of support would suit you best.

This may include access to:

  • Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) and one-to-one treatment sessions for carers with depression and/or anxiety.  The treatment offered involves the use of guided self-help that takes you through the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and helps to enable behaviour change.
  • Person-centred phone or face-to-face counselling through our in-house counsellors.  This process is based around talking things through and helping you to realise your own coping strategies or allowing you to talk in a safe space.
  • Referral to other appropriate forms of therapy via other local support services.

Counselling sessions last approximately one hour and offer complete confidentiality.  Due to the high demand for this service, there may be a waiting list.  Carers are usually allocated eight sessions, but this can be amended.

Catherine Ellis, Volunteer and Befriending Coordinator at WLCC says “Many people undertaking a caring role can benefit from counselling.  This is especially true if you feel the impacts of caring are affecting your mental or physical health.  For many caregivers, a huge amount of their time is spent on others.  This allows them little time to focus on themselves.  Counselling sessions can help with this.  We are delighted to be working with Making Space to offer this service to carers.”

Emma Kay, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at Making Space says “At Making Space we understand that while caring for a family member or loved one is a very generous and selfless thing to do, it can also take its toll on your own health and wellbeing.  It is at these times when it is important to have the help and support of people who understand the positive steps that can be taken to aid recovery.”

If you would like to find out more about our Counselling Service, please contact the Carers Centre, by calling 01942 705959 or emailing: info@wlcccarers.com.

Social and support groups

Many carers find it helpful to attend a support group and/or participate in activities.  Here at WLCC we provide the opportunity to meet other carers in the same situation as you who will understand what you are going through, enabling you to share experiences and have a chat in an informal and friendly setting.

Carer support groups are usually small, with members meeting informally to discuss various topics.

These groups can help carers:

  • Cope with caring responsibilities
  • Meet, discuss and learn from other carers in similar situations
  • Alleviate isolation
  • Support each other
  • Receive emotional and social support and information

Groups are usually free but there can be a small charge for refreshments or car parking (if in the community).

For the most up-to-date list of group events, please visit our events booking page.

Our groups are held on a regular basis and this enables you to build relationships within the group. You may find that you make new friends and that your social life improves as a result.  We also use the groups to share tips on ways of coping, and there is often a great deal of fun and laughter to be had.

If you would like to join one of our friendly support groups, please book online, by calling 01942 705959 or emailing: info@wlcccarers.com.  If you have a suggestion for a support group or would prefer one-to-one support, please get in touch.