Changing lives through affordable counselling

Key Fund delivered a £60k loan to Birmingham-based Citizen Coaching to expand its services and reach.

Citizen Coaching CIC: Key Fund delivered a £60k loan to Birmingham-based Citizen Coaching to expand its services and reach.


Citizen Coaching works to help people achieve better lives through accessible and affordable counselling, anger management and skills development. It also operates two social enterprises that offer apprenticeships, work experience and employability: Citizen Click and Citizen Home.

Their story:

Martin Hogg held a senior position running pubs, restaurants, clubs and hotels, overseeing 600 employees. As a trained counsellor, he began to see the impact of alcohol and violence on the lives of his customers and employees working at the ‘coalface’. He set up Citizen Coaching in 2005 with an ambition to enable people to live better relationships at home and work through coaching and counselling techniques.

Citizen Coaching became a CIC in 2010. Unlike the NHS, which in some locations only offers limited Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, often with a large waiting list, Citizen Coaching offered flexibility around the number of sessions, location and timings, methods of counselling and choice of counsellor to fit around the person, rather than a prescribed approach.

By 2013, Martin began to explore ways to expand to meet client demand. In 2015, a Key Fund loan of £60k allowed him to replicate the initial counselling business at a second location, recruiting more counsellors, and freed his time to secure new contracts, including adding counselling for victims of crime, supported by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner. Support form Big Lottery Fund enabled an additional 500 people to receive anger management. Martin’s time was also used to develop relationships with two local consortia. These relationships should see additional contracts worth £90,000. The investment also saw an increase in counselling sessions to 7,500 per year.

Expanding to offer employability and training services to people, Martin launched Citizen Home – an online and retail shop in Birmingham, featuring locally-made crafts. He has also developed Citizen Click – a digital and design service – which gives young people volunteering and internships; to date four apprentices have become full-time employees.

Martin’s ability to innovate and spot market opportunities, and deliver quality services at affordable prices, have become the bedrock of the business.

Turnover is now at £250k per year, with 8 full-time employees and 28 freelance counsellors.

Social Impact:

For every £1 invested in Citizen Coaching’s mental health services there is a return of £7 (reduction in hospital visits, less anti-social behaviour, reduction in homelessness and crisis intervention, better relationships, access to employment and training). The service offers free sessions to those unable to pay; with over 90% of clients reporting a significant increase in their well-being.


“Key Fund stood out from all the social finance suppliers we went to because they took time to listen to our business and understand our business model. Key Fund took the time to listen and offer the right amount of finance needed that was affordable. I also wanted our business to go to the Key Fund as it’s a social enterprise itself, and would re-invest profits to help others.” – Martin Hogg, CEO, Citizen Coaching

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