Key Fund delivered a £30k loan to Nottingham Counselling Service to bridge a funding gap and adjust to a changing market place, as historic grants dried up as a result of austerity and public sector cuts.


Nottingham Counselling Service is a long-standing charity. It specialises in working long-term with people who present complex and enduring problems, such as anxiety, depression and abuse.

their story

Established 40 years ago, with roots reaching back as far as 1875, Nottingham Counselling
Service is one of the leading providers of therapy and support for adults in Nottinghamshire
and the East Midlands.

Its ethos is that good mental wellbeing should not be restricted by circumstance or
background. It provides inclusive and accessible counselling at a cost that reflects the
economic circumstance of the client. Their approach is people centric: people can self-refer
without their GP. It is also unique in that the number of sessions available are unlimited,
to accommodate those with long-term or multiple issues.

In 2014, Key Fund helped NCS through its initial transition from dependence to semiindependence,
moving from being heavily reliant on grant funding from the NHS and Local
Authorities. The Key Fund loan allowed them to recruit a development worker to diversify
income and move into a contracting culture.

It allowed NCS to invest in its online vision and develop its digital capabilities; NCS recently
relaunched a website and online self-referral form, reporting a significant increase in the
number of referrals. The team is currently scaling operations as it forecasts demand will
continue to be high.


Mental illness costs the UK economy £120 billion a year. with one in four adults experiencing
a mental health problem every year. NCS helps reduce this cost and days lost through
stress-related illness by making services affordable for vulnerable people.

Each week, NCS helps up to 150 people. 91% of clients report significant improvements in
their well-being. Outcomes include improved confidence, increased aspirations and better
relationships. In 2015, it supported 419 people – the equivalent of £1.4 million savings for
the public purse.


Key Fund has a very good understanding of the value of the services we provide as an organisation, alongside our aspiration to be more independent and more resilient. Each time we’ve had a difficult situation they’ve understood this and assisted us through those transitioning points.”

Leslie McDonald, Executive Director