Counselling for young children
A new children's counsellor has been appointed by a Norwich church to help children as young as eight or nine who are feeling under pressure.
Some may feel that children that young have no pressure, but what about the pressure to succeed at school to reach the SATS requirements? Then there's the peer pressure to conform, be part of the crowd – even with drugs or sex. There's pressure from bullying and all of this without the pressures from modern family life.
Maybe parents are breaking up, there's trouble with brothers or sisters. Then there's the ever-present threat of child abuse – the restriction of living in our threatening society. Yes. The pressure is on. So to whom may children turn.
It is in order to meet this need that Oak Grove Chapel has appointed a Children's Pastoral Worker for two local schools. Maria Elphick is supported by Children's' Fund cash that was allocated for the pastoral care of children in this area.
Ian Savory, leader at Oak Grove Chapel, says: "We are working in partnership with the Matthew Project and are able to provide just four hours per week but we hope to extend that in the future.
"Maria has been in post for only a few weeks but already she has a waiting list. The children are referred to Maria from the teachers, with the parent's permission. These are children who need one-to-one help."
Maria sees her role as expressing practical Christianity. "Children need to feel listened to, valued and supported," she says. “Counselling children and supporting parents and teachers, being alongside them, demonstrates love, faith and hope – Christianity in practice."
Details of Maria's work are available on 01603 403388.
Link to Oak Grove Chapel homepage
By John Breeze
Pictured above is children's pastoral worker Maria Elphick.