This March, we came together with volunteers, staff, patrons, trustees and supporters to celebrate 40 years of the Nottingham Counselling Service. Our night was based on the theme of Storytelling. Anonymous client testimonies and real stories were at the centre of the night. Our glamorous hosts Daksha Patel and Kimberley Evans led us through the celebrations with opening and closing remarks made by Executive Director Leslie McDonald and Chair Le-Roy Edwards MBE respectively.

It was our great honour to host an array of wonderful speakers who gave us a valuable insight into the benefits of mental health support on society, the economy, therapeutic practice and on individuals.

We were impressed by the overview given by Sir John Peace concerning the importance of the ‘Midlands Engine Partnership in terms of contributing towards growth and productivity. The presentation demonstrated just how much he understood and cared about good mental health and wellbeing and how businesses need to confront their societal and economic responsibility in supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair of the BACP spoke about his own journey into counselling and how the profession provides invaluable and life-changing support for so many. He also presented us with the challenges faced by therapists in a Mental Health crisis and how the wider profession faces the challenge of adapting to an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Johnny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourne rounded up the speakers for the night telling their ‘Stranger on the Bridge’ story. The deeply moving story was heroic, inspiring and honest. Which left the audience in a state of awe. Johnny’s openness about his ongoing journey and Neil’s support for a stranger gave us a talk no guest will soon forget!

To round off a night of celebration and stories, a 70s disco in homage to our 40 years ended a night to remember!

We thank all staff and volunteers involved in making this such an unforgettable night!