The social and economic regeneration of inner-city housing estates has been a common feature of successive UK government policies for a number of years. However, their focus has primarily been on the physical regeneration of communities to the exclusion of individuals' emotional and personal problems. Community-based counselling projects are still a rarity in regeneration projects. This article describes the establishment and subsequent history of a counselling project based on an inner-city housing estate in East London, which was undergoing extensive regeneration. It discusses how the service originated from the ongoing work of a participatory action research project and how it challenged stereotypical images of counselling. It demonstrated that free, accessible and locally based counselling services are needed in the regeneration of communities; that extensive planning is necessary both within the organisation and in relation to funding before the project begins; and that on-going core funding is essential to sustaining such innovative and much-needed projects.
- community-based counselling
- culturally diverse communities
- organisational dynamics
- urban regeneration
- voluntary sector