Side by Side Counselling, a local voluntary organisation, celebrated its fifteenth Anniversary in December. The service, which opened in 2007, offers free counselling to anyone over the age of17 in Oldham and Ashton. To date, they have supported over 2000 clients and have offered almost 16,500 counselling hours. The service provides face-to-face sessions from locations in Oldham and Ashton every week and also offers phone sessions so people can receive support from their homes or other safe space. Unlike many mental health services, Side by Side Counselling does not limit the number of sessions a person can receive and offers support until individuals feel ready to move on.

The service, which is run entirely by volunteers and is funded through donations, also supports trainees to achieve diplomas, degrees and masters courses in counselling.

Over the years, Side by Side Counselling has worked alongside Oldham Council, The Women’s Project, Ancora and ABL Health to reach out to the most isolated people within the community and support them with issues such as anxiety, depression, bereavement and loss, addictions, sexuality and relationship problems

Luke Entwistle, one of the founders of the organisation, explains that “Counselling is something that could help any of us at some stage in our lives. However, after COVID and lockdown, there are many more people struggling with their mental health. Counselling gives people the chance to explore any issues in a safe, positive environment, with a therapist they can trust beside them”.

To access free counselling or find out more information, people can contact Side by Side Counselling on 07376799797 or 07342144238 or at