Centre 70 – supporting West Norwood and Tulse Hill since 1970

You may not be aware of the work of Centre 70, located by the train station in West Norwood. 

Since 1970, they have been supporting the health and wellbeing of West Norwood and Tulse Hill, helping “adults who are facing social, mental, financial or other personal difficulties through a holistic programme of free and affordable services including: Advice, Counselling and Wellbeing, Training and Advocacy.” 

Alongside paid services, they offer free counselling through their INSPIRE project, which “is a holistic project that provides free access to Centre 70’s specialist services, and gives people the opportunity to use their own personal experiences to actively support others who are facing difficulties in their lives.”

We spoke to INSPIRE Project Coordinator Rosie Trustam about some of the work she’s been doing for Centre 70, her opinions of the Health and Wellbeing of West Norwood, alongside asking about some of the support anyone in West Norwood and Tulse Hill can access. 

What have you noticed about people’s health and wellbeing over the last few years?

“The demand for our service has started high and has remained high. I’d say that when you’re talking about health and wellbeing, people may think that the counselling service is more important to health and wellbeing. 

“But actually, you find that our advice service, which is more the financial side of things, is also really key to people’s emotional and physical well-being. 

“If you don’t have certainty over your housing situation, or if you’re unsure you’re able to pay your bills, your mental and physical health can definitely suffer.”

Who can access your services? 

“The short answer is anyone. 

“The overall counselling service is a low-cost service, so there is a fee to pay, but it’s dependent on your income, and it starts at 10 pounds per session. It scales up; if you earn more, you pay more.

“Our Inspire project, which is what I work on, provides counselling for free, it’s for anyone who earns under £12,000, and who are facing multiple disadvantages.

“That is really broad deliberately, because we don’t want to make it only for certain categories. But the idea is that people who are facing multiple disadvantages in their lives, can access this support for free.” 

What’s the support been like from volunteers in the community?

“I’d say that people are really, really keen. We have this idea of volunteering as being a middle class, female pursuit. However, that’s not really the full picture.

We’ve had volunteers even start their own  projects through our INSPIRE initiative;  one is called Learning Without Classrooms. One is a money mentors course, and the other is called Sister2Sister, which is a menopause support group.

What do you love about your job?

“West Norwood and Tulse Hill, in some ways, feel kind of old fashioned;  people chat to you on the street. You bump into people, and it feels like the kind of  neighbourhood other places felt like 20 years ago.

“I love it when I can facilitate people helping each other,  because everyone has an idea of what they want to accomplish, and what would benefit people’s lives. When they’re  on board, it’s great to just act as the administrator, and give people the freedom to make a change in the community.

“It’s great when the people we work with are running workshops, delivering information sessions. It’s really rewarding  seeing them come up with their own ideas and developing projects, and engaging with other organisations themselves.”

If you would be interested in accessing Centre 70 support and counselling, you can look at their website. Pricing is tiered; if you earn between £12,000 and £15,999, you pay £15 per session, if you earn between £16,000 and £19,999 you pay £20 per session, etc. 

This piece is a part of our Happier Healthier Workplaces Project. You can read more articles here.