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Project information

To Provide an Online Counsellor for Children

In February 2012, Relate will launch the pilot phase of a new, national online counselling, guidance and support service for secondary school aged children and young people called iRelate. You could play a crucial role in the development of this innovative service.

Successful outcomes for the pilot will see this become a national service.

Charity information: Relate

Relate logo
  • Need


    Emotional and mental distress in childhood and adolescence matter in both the short and long term. in a typical class within a UK school, by the time these 30 young people reach their 16th birthdays:
    10 of them will have witnessed their parents separate, 3 will have suffered from mental health problems, 8 will have experienced severe physical violence, sexual abuse or neglect, 3 will be living in a step family,1 will have experienced the death of a parent, 7 will report having been bullied.


    We are now embarking on an exciting new project that will transform the way that children and young people access counselling and advice services, whether at school, or at home. Relate will launch the pilot for an innovative new national web resource for children and young people, called iRelate. This service will be marketed and delivered throughout participating secondary schools in the UK.
    It will reach out to more children and young people who are ‘not on the radar’ of other services.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Young people in Britain are turning to the internet first for help with their personal problems.


    » iRelate will feature live web chat (so that children and young people can connect directly to a counsellor online) in immedaite real time for help.
    » iRelate will have an agony aunt section called ‘Ask Alex’ to offer help with a wide range of problems.
    » Children can share experiences, alleviate the sense of isolation, form friendships and find solutions together with understanding from their peers.
    » There will be links to practical information alongside unique multimedia support articles/videos/sound bites and podcasts.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...that iRelate becomes the first place that young people look for help with relationship difficulties whether connected to their home-life; school-life or friends.

    Aim 2

    To provide online support for children and young people, we need to employ qualified counsellors.


    » We appeal to you to help us provide a counsellor salary for a period of one year in line with the project launch of the iRelate service.
    » As highly qualified professionals, Relate’s online and telephone counsellors are not voluntary members of staff.
    » Our counsellors are trained in working with children and delivering therapeutic services with the skills to work in text or over the telephone.
    » This is crucial to the safeguarding quality provision to young people.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...your support that would allow us to grow and focus on developing and expanding the service so that we can continue to provide successful outcomes for young people

  • Impact


    It will reach out to more children and young people who are ‘not on the radar’ of other services and those who may feel uncomfortable talking about their feelings face to face. Therefore, we are likely to see more boys engage, those with special educational needs (SEN) including those on the autistic spectrum, and young people with hearing loss or other disabilities who cannot easily partake in physical or phone based counselling services. It will reach a generation who value anonymity.


    • Higher than anticipated demand could lead to waiting times to speak to a counsellor. Mitigated by offering different levels of support to ensure access to a service and multimedia content (community forums and the agony aunt section) which will require close monitoring.
    •Child Protection Issues – all our staff have been fully trained in Child Protection and Relate’s policy and procedures regarding child protection issues.


    This project will be closely monitored. Reports of progress will be regularly sent to donors in exchange for your much needed financial support. This can be by way of case studies, respondent feedback and statistical evidence for the numbers of people using the iRelate service on a monthly basis.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £24,208

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £24,208 Salary Full time Counsellor Salary 1 Year
  • Background


    Our online and telephone counsellors are based at our national central head office in Doncaster, where we run our ‘Response’ services, such as our national 0300 number and our email and telephone counselling services. Relate Central Office is also where we provide the training and supervision for counsellors to enable them to work online.


    This is an innovative national service, designed exclusively for secondary school aged children and young people in need of therapeutic guidance and who may be considered ‘at risk’ or ‘socially excluded’.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Relate currently works in over 625 schools across England and Wales, and provides a face-to-face counselling service to 15,000 children and young people every year. Much of our work is with children ‘at risk’ or ‘socially excluded’. We also provide family counselling services in many schools across the country.

    Established in 1937, Relate works to develop and support healthy relationships to improve the quality of life and expectations of people and their families.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jamie Murdoch

    National lead for Relate’s Children and Family services and is responsible for the development and quality standards for Relate’s work in these areas.