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.