About Us2020-05-12T02:43:14+01:00

About The Cogwheel Trust

“The whole process of the meetings I have helped me so much to get back on track. I now deal better with my thoughts and actions and my life is getting better because of Cogwheel.”

Established in 1988, The Cogwheel Trust is a charity working throughout Cambridgeshire to improve the emotional and psychological wellbeing of local people. We endeavour to carry out our mission by:

  1. Providing a range of affordable counselling and psychotherapy services, including a substantial proportion of subsidised places for those on low income
  2. Improving access to counselling and psychotherapy services (our own and the services of other providers in the region)
  3. Promoting emotional and psychological wellbeing

The Cogwheel Trust provides affordable counselling in Cambridgeshire to couples, families and individuals of all ages: children, teenagers, young adults, adults and the elderly. Some people come in great distress, but some seek help with emotional difficulties or want help to change their patterns of behaviour that are unhelpful. Early counselling intervention is an effective solution and prevents more complex health and social needs from developing.

Please note, The Cogwheel Trust is not a crisis service.  If you are experiencing a mental health crisis  call 111 option 2 or  (by calling 111 and selecting option 2 when prompted for the mental health service). You can access 111 online via www.111.nhs.uk (this service is for people aged 5 and over) or by calling 111. You can also contact the Samaritans at 116-123. You can find information on other support agencies in Cambridge here.

The Cogwheel Trust affirms the value of every person: all people connected with our charity are valued for who they are and encouraged, supported and challenged to become what they can be. The Cogwheel Trust is characterised by inclusiveness, diversity and mutual respect.

The Cogwheel Trust encourages personal development and positive change: we start with the belief that each person is unique and deserves to be respected and genuinely cared for as they are; and as someone who has a future to be discovered and developed.

The Cogwheel Trust values participation: all people have a valuable contribution to make in shaping services, helping others, building relationships and strengthening communities. We work with the community, not just for the community, and we seek opportunities for all people to participate in our mission.

The Cogwheel Trust is fortunate to have a team of almost 45 dedicated part time counsellors. Many of our counsellors are volunteers who usually commit to working for the organisation for at least two years or more. Our counsellors are professionally trained or in the final stages of their qualification and are able offer a variety of counselling approaches, from psychodynamic to person centred to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Many of them are accredited or working towards accreditation with BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and/or UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy). All counsellors are supported in their clinical work by a team of qualified and experienced supervisors who ensure that the work carried out is ethical and professional and in keeping with BACP guidelines. Find out more about our counselling services here.

The Cogwheel Trust has a small team who provide essential administrative support without whom the work of the charity could not take place. We have a Lead Administrator who takes referrals and books appointments and generally liaises with clients and counsellors.

Our Clinical Administrator deals with the database and documentation and she is also the Children’s Liaison Worker, coordinating the work between the children’s therapists and parents. There is a Finance Officer, a Business Support Manager, a Fundraiser and a Communications officer who bring their expertise and commitment to the benefit of the organisation.

Overseeing the whole charity and guiding us is a small and equally dedicated group of Trustees who, between them, provide a range of expertise and experience in managing charities and community projects.

As we reached our 30th anniversary of The Cogwheel Trust back in 2018, the charity achieved a new milestone – being formally accredited by the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). This has been achieved because of the consistent standard of the counselling maintained by our counselling team with the active support of our Head of Counselling and Supervisors. We are the only accredited counselling service in Cambridgeshire. To have this recognition, from BACP, of the quality of our work to reduce the mental wellbeing challenges in the Cambridgeshire community is a testament to the experience accumulated over the last 32 years.

Throughout our review of last year’s work, you’ll see how we’re reaching out to more people and providing affordable mental health counselling for individual and families in Cambridgeshire. The Cogwheel Trust Annual Review 2018/2019 will be made available soon. Please keep an eye on this page.

The Cogwheel Trust Annual Statistics 2018

One of our founding members was Jenny Joice, a practising Christian who, following her own personal turbulent history, was inspired to collaborate with others to open up a counselling centre that would be readily available to people. Jenny Joice worked with others in her church communities to provide a voluntary and accessible counselling service to those in need. Initially, the counsellors worked from a Christian perspective but Jenny was adamant that the counselling should not be confined by the narrow limitations of the training and practices of the prevailing Christian counselling courses. To quote Jenny, unlike other Christian counselling services springing up at the time, the key to The Cogwheel Trust vision was a real sense of communal interdependence, a flat organisation which offered the wider Cambridge community love and understanding in action, with no hidden agenda of evangelism or placing “bums on pews”.

Counsellors were expected to have undertaken rigorous training on accredited secular courses. One of the riches of this communal life was that with so many counsellors trained and worked with different therapeutic models, understanding and learning continued through shared supervision (sic).

Today, The Cogwheel Trust has a Christian ethos underpinning our values, but we exist to serve all those with emotional and psychological difficulties, regardless of their faith position. The Trustees relationship with, and faith in, Jesus Christ was central to the establishment of The Cogwheel Trust and continues to be at the heart of the Trust’s ongoing work. We are not, however, a proselytising organisation: The Cogwheel Trust offers a secular service from a Christian motivation. We employ staff and volunteers who are Christians, other faiths and no faith; we do not provide Christian Counselling, though this could be arranged by referral.

We find that the Christian ethos underpinning our values and work has created a culture of passion, commitment, care and humility in our team. People with whom we work are accepted for who they are, and not judged. This is part of what makes The Cogwheel Trust’s work unique and effective.


The Cogwheel Trust’s dedicated team of Trustees is headed by Jeremy Barnett. He is supported by Lis Silver, David Farrer, Nigel Walter and Christopher Palmer.


Our Patrons are the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely and Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College.

At The Cogwheel Trust we aim to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. We are proud to provide a service to the diverse community in Cambridgeshire, and are committed to improving access to talking therapies to all those who need it.
We work hard to break down the barriers that can prevent people from accessing counselling, whether this be financial difficulties, isolation, or stigma. However, we are always aware that more can be done to support people to find the right help. We gather data anonymously about our clients and monitor this data carefully to see where we need to improve. We welcome your feedback about anything we could do to make it easier to use our service.

Download our Equals Opportunities Policy

We frequently receive positive feedback from those who we have helped with their personal mental health issues. Discover some of our positive testimonials in our Stories of success page.

We’re very grateful to everyone who supports us financially. We have a broad range of income streams so we’re not reliant on one source of funding. This is very important to us as it means we can remain entirely independent. Cogwheel continues to operate as a charity, with about 53% of our funding requirement being provided by donations from our clients. The challenge to Cogwheel is to raise the balance, 27% each year.

Through 2018 we were contacted by over 600 people and provided 4691 assessments and sessions for adults, 41 for children and 20 for families. These numbers for adults and children are very similar to the previous year.

Please see below links to graphics showing:

  • ‘What happens when people come to Cogwheel’ (comparing Level of distress at start of counselling and at the end)
  • ‘Reasons for coming to Cogwheel’ (depression and/or anxiety/stress, relationship difficultie,s grief & loss, abuse, anger problems arising from childhood, trauma, physical health issues, loneliness, personal identity, self-esteem, addiction, rape, other…)
  • Where our income comes from
  • Where our donations come from
  • How we spend each £ you donate

Quick Facts

Cogwheel was founded over 30 years ago and works throughout Cambridgeshire to improve the emotional and psychological well-being of local people. We are the only general provider of affordable counselling in Cambridgeshire.

Today Cogwheel has:

  • 3 centres – in central Cambridge, Ely and Sawston.
  • about 45 dedicated part time counsellors, paid and volunteer.
  • experienced supervisors.
  • a small team providing administrative support and
  • a dedicated group of Trustees.

In 2018 Cogwheel:

  • was contacted by over 600 people.
  • provided over 4,691 sessions.
  • Is attended by people most of whom benefit dramatically from their weekly counselling sessions.

Emotional difficulties and mental ill-health are common:

  • One person in four will experience mental ill-health at some time in their lives.
  • Depression, debilitating anxiety and other difficulties can affect anyone,
  • Having money, a job or good community doesn’t mean it can’t affect you.
  • We all know someone who has struggled.
  • It can feel shameful to the sufferer who may therefore hide their condition.
  • These people are our family, our friends, our employers and our employees.

Coming to Cogwheel:

  • We see people of all ages from children to pensioners in their 80s.
  • 30% of people came on the recommendation of their GP.
  • In addition, a total of 19 different mental health support services recommended Cogwheel to people.
  • Clients are asked to contribute towards the cost of their counselling.
  • This contribution is always affordable.
  • most of our clients would be economically-excluded from accessing
    private counselling, with 85% of clients contributing £30 per session or less
  • We do not receive any government or NHS funding.
  • The shortfall between our outgoings and income from clients has to be met from donations.
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