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Project information

Network @ Elm Park

We provide affordable counselling to deprived communities and we train counsellors who volunteer to do this. We want to employ another charity that provides construction skills to ex-offenders to update an old flat as a training base including to provide community education in listening skills.

September 2017 - January 2018

Charity information: Network Counselling And Training Limited

Network Counselling And Training Limited logo
  • Need


    We want to improve the mental health resilience of the deprived communities we serve . To keep our counselling affordable we need volunteer counsellors. The best way is to grow our own counsellors, so we provide training from introductory to diploma level that is nationally accredited. We already do this, but converting the flat will allow us to provide more courses that are accessible and affordable to the local community including for specialist youth counsellors.


    Converting the flat will reduce a major cost of providing courses - 'the accommodation'. Because we own the flat, then once converted it will mean the accommodation costs of providing the training is cut by 75%. It will also enable a better standard of training with bespoke facilities. The flat is in a neighbourhood that is one of the 30% most deprived in England and within a mile of 15 other. This will make it more accessible to those in these communities who want to be trained to help.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Convert the existing flat at Elm Park to a counselling training facility.


    » Finish the design and specification of the flat conversion.
    » Agree an acceptable cost effective price with other charity that provides the ex-offenders with construction skills through project work.
    » Carry out the work on site to convert the flat.

    What success will look like

    Completion of the works by the end of January 2018 ready for the new training schedule.

  • Impact


    The project will complete needed training facilities to ensure that we are able to continue training to diploma level counsellors who will then volunteer to provide affordable counselling and we will be able to expand the availability of affordable introductory listening skills courses to increase knowledge and awareness in the local communities of mental health issues. We would expect to see an increase in our ability to offer free or subsidised courses to the most disadvantaged communities.


    With all construction projects there are affordability risks. Both for initial design, tendering and final costs.

    To deal with the risks;

    -We have a professional consultant advising on the project
    - We have carried out a full set of surveys and removed asbestos that was identified.
    -We have completed the design and have a cost estimate.
    -We will agree a fixed price that is within the set budget prior to starting the work.


    By monthly reports on progress including costs and a final report at completion on site. We will also record and monitor the increase in training that this project enables us to carry out and report on those we have helped gain training/education from a deprived/disadvantaged communities.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £31,350

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,750 Site preparation Stripping out redundant items and removing from site.
      £4,150 Kitchen and Toilets New kitchen units, equipment and fitting out works including new toilets.
      £8,750 Mechanical and Electrical Renew power, lighting, heating and plumbing installations
      £2,850 Consultants Professional consultant and project management
      £5,275 Finishes Floor coverings
      £7,575 General Alterations Revised partitions, doors etc
  • Background


    The flat to be converted is located in Elm Park, Filton, Bristol and is in an area identified as with the third most deprived areas of England and within a mile of 15 other such areas. The site is however alongside a number of other community facilities that we have already started working with. It will also be alongside our main counselling facility.


    The local community will benefit directly from lower cost training in listening, counselling and mental health education which will in turn provide more volunteer counsellors to work in the local areas of deprivation and disadvantage.

    Local people will gain new skills.

    The ex-offenders employed through the charity that carry out the work will gain new skills and also be mentored through the charity.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have provided affordable counselling and training throughout the southwest for over 30 years and have been nationally recognised for the quality of our provision whilst also having strong local connections in and around the neighbourhood where the premises are.

    We are the only local counselling provider have no set charges.

    We have a history of successfully training counsellors who then volunteer and are unique in this region as a BACP accredited training provider that also counsels.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Nick Ruff

    Nick is General Manager at Network and has 30 years experience in construction and is passionate about making the overall project happen.

    Matt Gutteridge

    Matt is the Project Co-ordinator/Manager for Bristol Together the charity that provides construction skills and mentoring to ex-offenders.