Sussex Community Development Association

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Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) is a community focussed organisation based in Newhaven. The organisation has a number of different work-streams with the counselling services being based in the Health and Wellbeing work-stream. The counselling services offer low-cost counselling to communities surrounding Newhaven as well as the ‘Haven’ project working with clients who have experienced sexual abuse. Counselling Partnership: Support for Survivors of Suicide is run in partnership with Counselling Plus (Hastings) and offers support services to clients who have been affected by suicide. These include one to one support for clients who are currently suicidal or who have recently attempted suicide together with groups for clients who have been bereaved by suicide. The project operates across East Sussex.

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Organisation Details

Address Health & Well-being
31A High Street, Newhaven,
East Sussex,

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

The project is focussed on supporting people who are affected by suicidal feelings and/or bereaved by suicide. The project works closely with agencies to ensure that timely referrals are made and vulnerable individuals can be picked up by the service asap.   Individuals who are experiencing suicidal feelings or who have attempted suicide are offered one to one support. We offer a safe space for individuals to explore their feelings as well as helping them to find ways to stay safe and work on their own resources to help them deal with similar feelings in the future. Clients are offered 10 sessions to work through their feelings and can re-present to the service if they need to in the future.   Groups supporting individuals bereaved by suicide are being established. There are two weekly groups running in different parts of the county. These groups are run in a person-centred way occasionally discussing articles or programmes connected to suicide. Up until recently the nearest similar group was in Maidstone which is a significant journey for many clients. Feedback from group members includes comments such as “listening to the others has put my problems into perspective” and “I started feelings better straight away. I only wish I had done it sooner although this service was not set up”.   In addition a new monthly drop in will be established from June which will be advertised as supporting all those affected by suicide. It is envisaged that suicidal individuals and those bereaved by suicide may attend.

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What are your current priorities?

Approach the commissioner for an interim review and potential additional investment.

The project requires reporting every quarter to the commissioner. The project is funded for two years and the amount of the budget is fixed. The commissioner is aware of the demands on the project and is open to having an interim review and discussing ideas. If no further funds are available it may be necessary to restrict the number of sessions per one-to-one client or in the future be even stricter about access. Interim review with the commissioner will take place April/May. The project started in October 2014 and it intended to run until September 2016. It may also be possible to consider additional groups if the one to one counselling is prohibited by funds but this is not our preference.

Ensure that the group work programme for individuals bereaved by suicide is accessible across the county.

Currently weekly groups are running in Bexhill and Newhaven. These groups are open but are by invitation. A new group is planned for Eastbourne which is quite central in the county and is easily accessible by public transport from all areas. This group will be run on a monthly basis and will be run as a drop in so individuals will not need to be registered in the service to attend. This will be run on an experimental basis for the rest of 2015 and a review will take place to the end of the year. Additionally a service user who was utilising the groups but no longer feels that this is necessary is looking to volunteer as a co-facilitator.

Recruit service user volunteers (experts by experience) to assist with the project and also advise on the next steps in the project.

The intention for the project has been ultimately that there will be an advisory group including individuals who have used the service. We are now coming to the point where some clients have completed their agreed ￿treatment￿ and a couple are feeling ready to begin to volunteer. A number of ideas have been discussed with these service users around how they might volunteer with the project. Initially individuals will be invited to attend the new Eastbourne group and one of these ex-service-users will co-facilitate the group when it is up and running (as detailed above). Ex-service-users will also be invited to participate in an advisory group to shape the ongoing future of the project. This group will be established by autumn 2015.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

The current project is a pilot running over 2 years (we are 6months in). Funding for the project is limited so we are being creative about how to stretch our money. The greatest challenge is the demand for the project and how we manage this. We are still very much in start-up but the demand is already definitely there.   It is also a challenge to ensure with minimum resources that the project is reaching broadly across the county whilst balancing the financial restrictions.   As we are in start-up and this is a pilot project we are trying different ideas to see what is most successful. In addition as clients move through the service if they would like to they are being invited to volunteer in whatever capacity seems appropriate to them.

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