Placements and Job Opportunities

Opportunities for Placements and Volunteer Counselling Opportunities in South Oxfordshire

 We are now accepting new applications for 2024 

 “Riverside is one of the best Counselling Services and Placement contexts I have ever come across. Highly professional, thoughtful and supportive, it offers a unique resource for clients and trainees. The support for trainees is outstanding, offering a buddy scheme, first-rate supervision, weekly CPD and clinical discussion groups. Riverside provides many opportunities for professional development with different client groups, as well as assessment experience for trainees developing their competence.”

 Alistair Ross, Associate Professor and Course Director of Psychodynamic Studies, Oxford University.

Are you looking for a placement at a dynamic, well-established counselling service, where you will be supported and encouraged to develop your skills?

Our criteria:

  • To be on a BACP/UKCP/BPS or BPC accredited training the duration of which should be a minimum of 2 years.
  • Able to commit to a 2 year placement.
  • Have attended an introductory counselling course prior to your training and/or had experience of working in a helping capacity prior to beginning clinical work.  
  • Be in weekly personal therapy throughout the duration of your training and for a minimum of 2 years in total.  Your therapist should be a BACP accredited, UKCP/BPC registered or BPS chartered and have a minimum of 5 years post qualification clinical experience.

Our requirements while on placement:

  • Be available on Monday mornings until 12:30 for Team Meetings and Trainings.  We have a monthly on-line team meeting and a termly F2F community meeting.  Compulsory  (ie. safeguarding training) and other optional trainings also take place on Mondays. 
  • Be able to work at one of our 4 hubs (Henley, Didcot, Wallingford or Berinsfield).  While we take into account personal preference, counsellors are placed at hubs according to client need.
  • Take responsibility for and engage with, by completing in a timely way, the administrative tasks that relate to the client work. Training will be provided to work using our IT and cloud-based-client-management system.
  • Gradually build up to working with 5 clients a week, half of which you would expect to see after 5pm (we do our best to enable counsellors to see clients concurrently, but this may not always be possible).
  • Attend supervision every 2 weeks, to meet BACP and course ratio requirements
  • To enable us to continue to offer high quality clinical support we ask for a small contribution towards supervision of £50 per month while counsellors are in training. 

Qualified Counsellors:

We also welcome applications from BACP, UKCP or equivalent qualified counsellors and therapists who would like to volunteer their time to provide affordable counselling to the community. We value the expertise experienced practitioners bring to the service and so in return we offer CPD, supervision and professional development opportunities, as well as peer support through being part of a vibrant and reflective team.  We would also welcome applications from newly qualified practitioners, who are working towards accreditation or registration, who could benefit from the support of a strong clinical team.

If you meet the criteria and are able to meet our placement requirements as outlined above, please complete the application form and send this together with a personal statement (click here for guidelines for writing a personal statement) and CV to

 (click here for guidelines for writing a personal statement

For placements working with young people please contact

You can find out more about Riverside here.

Counsellor Feedback:

“I have found Riverside colleagues to be extremely professional and dedicated, providing a wonderful collective experience of learning and growing with peers.” (Placement Student)

“I have found Riverside to be consistently supportive of me and my practice…as a consequence of all of this and much more, I have chosen to extend my work with Riverside beyond my qualification.”  (Placement Student)

“My placement at Riverside really helped me find my feet as a trainee psychotherapist. I was offered a mix of carefully matched clients at times to suit me, excellent supervision, CPD events, and discussion groups with senior practitioners on clinical issues.  Perhaps even more important were the relationships: a team of peers from a range of training institutions and modalities, all going through it together, supported by a leadership team who care passionately about the service.  I can thoroughly recommend it.“ (Placement Student)

Click here to read about one of our Placement Counsellors experience as a new therapist on placement at Riverside counselling service.

Clinical / Safeguarding Trustee

About the Role

Riverside Counselling Service are a well-established community-based charity which offers affordable counselling to Young People and Adults across South Oxfordshire. Riverside’s counselling services are accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and all our counsellors work within their Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. The service has identified the need for a Clinical / Safeguarding Trustee to join the Board and ensure that the organisation continues to maintain the highest clinical and safeguarding standards. In this important voluntary role, this trustee will take the lead in ensuring that safeguarding and high clinical standards remain front and centre of the way Riverside works as an organisation, with a focus on three key areas: strategy, policy and process and culture.  This is in addition to their wider responsibilities as a trustee and enhances the collective responsibility all trustees already have to understand and ensure safeguarding.



  • Consider Riverside’s strategic plans and make sure they reflect best clinical practice, BACP guidelines, as well as safeguarding legislation, regulations, statutory guidance, and safeguarding expectations of the Charities Commission.
  • Work with the CEO and other members of the management team to conduct regular reviews, with the aim of ensuring that the arrangements in place are in line with evolving best clinical practice, are creating a safer culture and keeping both Riverside team members and clients safe.
  • Check Riverside’s risk register reflects any identified safeguarding risks properly and plans sensible measures to take, including relevant insurance for trustees’ liability.
  • Ensure the Board agenda includes safeguarding reports and help trustees and management team members understand and challenge those reports.

Effective policy and practice

  • Review policies and procedures on an annual basis to ensure policies and procedures remain effective, and are adequately monitored.
  • Call for audits of qualitative and quantitative data when needed.
  • Learn from local and national case reviews to improve policies, procedures and practices.
  • Oversee any safeguarding concerns or allegations against staff or volunteers, together with the CEO and other designated safeguarding lead(s).
  • Act as a named point of contact for staff or volunteers if someone wishes to raise concerns or complain about a lack of action in relation to clinical practice or safeguarding concerns.

Creating the right culture

  • Champion safeguarding and best clinical practice throughout the organisation and support regular safeguarding updates for Trustees, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries.
  • Attend relevant safeguarding training events and conferences.
  • Support trustees in developing individual and collective understanding of safeguarding and best clinical practice.
  • Engage with staff, volunteers and beneficiaries to understand safeguarding and clinical practices on the ground.
  • Work with Chair, CEO, and any other designated safeguarding leads to manage serious safeguarding cases.
  • Make sure you have ways of gathering the views of staff and volunteers in relation to safeguarding and clinical practice, ensuring these are shared with the board.

For more information or to apply please contact



Salary: £55k (pro rata)

Working pattern: 3 days a week

Contract: Permanent

Location: Home-based (With flexibility to travel to Henley, Didcot, Wallingford & Berinsfield and to attend staff, counsellor, trustee and fundraising meetings as required)

About Riverside Counselling Service

Riverside Counselling Service is a mental health charity supporting the mental wellbeing of adults and young people in South Oxfordshire, including Henley, Wallingford, Didcot and Berinsfield. We are a highly respected charity providing affordable counselling, group counselling and drop-in services to adults and young people from 12 years of age upwards. Now in our 36th year, Riverside is looking for a passionate, driven and dynamic leader to continue to shape our change and transformation agenda and provide strategic insight and direction across our work.

About the role

We are looking for a Chief Executive officer who is passionate about the mental health of our communities.  They will lead Riverside Counselling Service in defining and delivering its strategy and ensuring it uses its funding and income to provide accessible mental health services. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of leadership, and experience of working in the mental health sector or allied disciplines.  They will also have extensive experience of fundraising and be happy to take a proactive role in this area. They will take an empathic and collaborative approach to leading and managing teams. The candidate will be a self-starter, adept at prioritisation, possess excellent communication and networking skills and combine a strong understanding of the distinctive nature of leading a charity with great management skills.

Key responsibilities

Strategic Planning

  • Work closely with the Board of Trustees and the senior leadership team to devise, implement and deliver Riverside’s strategy and business plan
  • Identify growth, partnership and development opportunities in line with the needs of communities we serve
  • Keep up to date with new developments in the field of mental health and any related government policies, reviewing in line with charitable objectives and strategic direction

Leadership & People Management

  • Overall responsibility for day-to-day management of the organisation, ensuring that it is delivering against its vision, mission and strategic objectives, in line with its values
  • Lead, empower and inspire the staff and volunteers creating a collaborative, transparent and safe working environment
  • Champion and embed a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion across the organisation

Fundraising and Business Development

  • Work closely with the Fundraising Manager and Treasurer (Trustee) to develop an annual budget and ensure a funding strategy to delivery sustainability
  • Work with the Fundraising Manager in writing persuasive and successful bid proposals and applications to a diverse portfolio of funders
  • Work with the Senior Leadership Team to explore and implement new funding streams to support the charity’s work.

Financial Management

  • Ensure the financial health of the organisation, monitoring financial position and forecasts against budget and ensuring strong financial governance is in place for
  • Work closely with the Treasurer to ensure financial transparency and that the organisation is adhering to regulatory and legal obligations

Operations and Service Delivery

  • Oversee all aspects of service delivery including safeguarding, ensuring excellent and ethical delivery of a client-centred service
  • Monitor the quality and quantity of services delivered, outcome measures and feedback, reporting on the impact of services
  • Ensure that all counsellors are supported in their professional development and client delivery with a clear framework of support and guidance

Partnerships, Engagement & Advocacy

  • Develop and manage relationships with key charitable stakeholders, including other community and charitable organisations, counselling networks, grant and funding bodies, commissioners, regulatory and professional bodies, corporate partners and individual donors
  • Act as the public face of Riverside Counselling Services and represent the charity across the mental health sector, within professional bodies and within the media
  • Keep in touch with the needs of the community and the charity’s service users ensuring that services are developed in line with these priorities.


  • Work closely with the board to ensure they are able to fulfil their governance responsibilities and maintain high standards of governance
  • Ensure the charity is meeting its overall purpose within a clear governance framework with associated policies, procedures and best practice guidelines

In addition, the postholder will be required to undertake any other activities appropriate to and commensurate with, their level of responsibility and accountability.

Skills & qualities


  • Inclusive, collaborative, motivational, supportive and empowering leader able to create a collaborative, values-driven culture across a remote-working team
  • Passionate about delivering high-quality, community-based mental health services
  • Proven track record of effective leadership and management
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • Track record of income generation across multiple income streams such as service delivery, grants and trusts and community fundraising
  • Strong financial and commercial acumen to include budgeting, forecasting, cost control and income generation
  • Strong focus and commitment to providing excellent standards of care
  • Proven track record of leading and managing organisational change
  • Ability to make impactful presentations and advocate for support


  • Understanding and appreciation of counselling and psychotherapeutic approaches
  • Experience of working within a charitable organisation
  • Lived experience of having received support for or supported someone with a mental health concern
  • Experience working with a Board and an understanding of governance, statutory compliance and best practice
  • An understanding of intersectionality and how that may impact use and delivery of our services

We encourage applications from all backgrounds and are committed to having an organisation that is made up of diverse skills, experiences and abilities.