University of Edinburgh
Social Enterprise and Third Sector
Edinburgh & Lothians
Bright Light Relationship Counselling is a charity that provides counselling, family therapy support, sex therapy, life skills coaching to young people, and counselling in schools. They also support families in recovery after alcohol addiction.
Bright Light was facing challenges reaching as well as supporting young people as, typically, they were not found to be comfortable with face-to-face counselling. Bright Light also have clients, such as carers and people with disabilities etc., where travelling to a venue is very difficult for them. Their services are crisis driven – they receive calls for help when issues have reached crisis point and relationships are near to or have broken down.
To combat these challenges, Bright Light were looking to:
- counsel by digital/telephone/texting and other means,
- deliver training programmes for their clients to enable and empower them to self-manage their health and wellbeing and better prepare them for key life transitions (i.e. gender identity, becoming a parent for the first time, becoming a full-time carer, disability, separation/divorce, being safe on-line, managing addiction).
Bright Light approached Interface, looking for a university or further education student to compile a feasibility/business plan that would include:
- digital research to identify what would be needed (equipment, costs),
- potential demand for the service,
- resourcing requirements (people, cost, equipment, time, management),
- a competition policy in place from COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland) and guidelines re telephone and video-conferencing counselling,
- existing skills/expertise identified in their counsellors plus suggestions for additional skills that would support their new business plan,
- Other ideas for expansion.
The feasibility study came just before the COVID-19 outbreak and the recommendations provided by the students allowed Bright Light to rapidly adapt their service model and set up digital counselling sessions. This enabled them to continue to help their most vulnerable clients, to keep in touch with them, as well as bringing in much needed income to the charity when many others were struggling.
Bright Light’s doors are wide open and welcomes people and families who feel they could benefit from counselling support in these strange and challenging times.