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Featured charity: Cairns Counselling

Inspired by the season of giving (but not just for Christmas) we are are going to be featuring and raising the profile of local charities from across Aberdeen City and Shire.

We’ll be featuring different charities each week on our social channels and website, helping to raise awareness of the diverse range of causes that so many charities are working so hard to support and how best individuals and organisations can support them right now.  First up is Aberdeen mental health charity, Cairns Counselling.

Charity Name: Cairns Counselling

What do they do and who do they support?

Cairns Counselling is an Aberdeen-based mental health charity that offers people a safe place to talk confidentially to a trained counsellor about the difficulties they are facing in their lives.

The charity offers counselling appointments free of charge to remove affordability as a barrier to accessing vital mental health and wellbeing support, so anyone who needs support can access it through Cairns Counselling.

It is their mission to give understanding, support, and compassion to adults in need across the Aberdeen area. Through the provision of counselling, they aim to encourage, empower, and enable clients to live more fulfilling lives.

The charity secured larger premises, at significant expense, just before the pandemic as part of a wider service expansion project, so Cairns Counselling could increase its counselling and support provision and be better positioned to respond to more referrals.

Since March 2020, the charity completely reconfigured its counselling service to a remote format, using telephone and video-conferencing technology to deliver vital mental health support during the pandemic.

Cairns Counselling’s face-to-face counselling service will begin to be reinstated in January 2022.

The waiting list for people awaiting counselling currently stands at 411 people in comparison to 261 people at the end of March 2020 when the pandemic hit and highlights the urgent need for Cairns Counselling to expand the capacity of its counselling service.

The charity will continue to offer and further develop remote mental health support via telephone and video conferencing alongside the charity’s face-to-face counselling service, which will offer more choice to clients and empower them to choose the counselling format that suits their personal needs and circumstances.

In the previous premises, the charity was offering around 5,000 counselling appointments annually and they have the capacity to increase counselling provision by 50% within our larger office premises, which will provide Cairns Counselling with the foundation to resume the service expansion project, which has been put on hold because of the pandemic, and substantially increase its service capacity.

The charity’s success will depend on securing additional funding to cover the increased running costs associated with the service expansion and the next 12 months are going to be considerably more challenging than last year due to the abundance of COVID funding no longer being available to subsidise the large reduction in donations and COVID-related constraints on income generation.

What positive impact does the charity make?

The charity makes a significant positive impact on the people it supports with 92% of clients saying that their mental health and well-being have been improved whilst 70% of clients say they feel better equipped to deal with future challenges.

 “I really enjoyed my sessions. They have helped me so much to get out of a dark place. I have come such a long way since my first appointment. Thank you”.

“My counselling has been incredibly positive and helpful, and a massive release of tension & anxiousness. Thank you so much”.


How can you help Cairns Counselling right now?

As an independent charitable organisation the charity relies on donations and the support of charitable Trusts & Foundations, corporations, and the public to raise enough funds to deliver the service.

The charity has seen a huge reduction in donations since the pandemic hit and urgently needs to raise funds to support the growing number of people who need help and to expand its service offering to meet this capacity.

The charity is running an online Crowdfunder fundraiser until 15th December and you can help by donating online. They need to generate 25 donations and if they achieve that, all donations will be match-funded by the National Emergencies Trust, which will boost donations further.

Mental Health – Increasing Counselling Support – a Community crowdfunding project in Aberdeen by Susan Will (


How you can find out more:

To find out more visit Cairns Counselling’s website or contact Suzi Will, the charity’s Funding Coordinator by email –