Riverside Counselling Service founded in Henley 35 years ago has launched an appeal Be a Friend -Tell a Friend to raise £240K as the need for mental health services has seen huge increase following the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. The appeal total is the cost to run the service for just one year.

Riverside last year provided over 5400 counselling sessions to children, adults and the elderly in South Oxfordshire. Their long-term model helps clients through highly complex issues such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, bereavement, social isolation, gender identity, abuse, domestic violence and drug and alcohol issues.

Adrian Marsh, Chair of Trustees at Riverside Counselling said, “The UK is currently in the grip of both a mental health crisis and a cost-of-living crisis. With mental health services within the NHS extremely stretched, and private counselling too expensive for many, there is a growing need for affordable counselling, which is what Riverside provide. However, our costs are also increasing, and securing funding is becoming more and more competitive. The aims of our Be a Friend – Tell a Friend campaign are therefore twofold; to boost awareness so that people know they can turn to us if they’re struggling with their mental health, and also encouraging the community to support us, so that we can continue to provide these vitally needed services. With suicide the leading cause of death in females up to the age of 34 and men up to the age of 45, every penny that people contribute towards our campaign will go towards providing people who are struggling with the support they need. Our services are frequently described by clients as life-changing, and may well be life-saving.”

Riverside know that the people who most likely need help with their mental health are those who are least likely to be able to afford it so they provide affordable counselling sessions with a fee that is manageable for everyone.

One client said, “Riverside has been a wonderful service, and hugely important to me over the past 10 months helping me to navigate some difficult times. The counselling sessions have been a weekly oasis of calm and reflection, and have taught me to better manage my mental health outside of those sessions. Throughout, the Riverside staff have been incredibly professional, caring and kind, and I highly recommend them.”

Hobbs of Henley have chosen Riverside Counselling as their charity partner for 2 years donating a percentage of sales from its corporate charters and hosting events.  They recently presented a cheque for £4,600 to Riverside.  Suzy Hobbs said, We chose Riverside as our charity partner because we feel very passionate about mental health, the charity has helped our family in the past. Your mental health affects your whole life and without it you can’t have physical health and we want to help keep this service running for generations to come. The charity is also able to offer affordable counselling to people which is vital as so many people are unable to access treatment due to funds or long waiting lists; everyone has the right to receive help for their mental health.”

Riverside would be grateful to receive donations from both individuals and businesses. For a donation of £55 you can pay for a single counselling session.  £660 pays for a standard course of counselling for Young People and £2,400 pays for a standard course of counselling for adults.  Riverside would also love you to choose them as your charity for a challenge, whether that be running, swimming or something else.

Suzy added, “I would encourage other local companies to consider making RCS their charity partner for a year because your help is needed. It is very tough time to keep charities running in today’s climate, securing funding through grants is becoming more and more competitive due to the rising costs which makes Riverside’s services even more important as we see rising numbers of people needing support due to the cost of living crisis. You never know when you or your loved ones may need this kind of support so it is vital to keep this local service.”

You can donate to the appeal via Riverside Counselling’s Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/riversidecounsellingservice or if you would like to talk about your business becoming a partner, please email