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Counselling Sponsorship Scheme FAQ

About the scheme

Thelma Matilda Alves Foundation’s Counselling Sponsorship Scheme is funded by the Post Code Lottery.


The Counselling Sponsorship Scheme will support 5 black women to receive 15 hours of free private counselling between Tuesday 28 February 2023 to Friday 1 December 2023.


Project background

Counselling can be inaccessible for black women due to the costs, long NHS waiting lists and not being referred by their doctors. We want to remove these barriers by providing support to black women directly by covering the costs related to counselling for women joining the scheme.


Who are beneficiaries?

The beneficiaries are the people selected to take part in the counselling sponsorship scheme.


Only 5 beneficiaries will be selected to take part in the scheme in 2023.


Why should I apply?

The NHS describe counselling as a way that helps you cope with a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder, an upsetting physical health condition, such as infertility, a difficult life event such as a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or work-related stress.


Counselling is an opportunity for you to talk about stress, concerns or life experiences that have affected you. It’s a process of releasing your thoughts with a qualified practitioner.


Counselling can help people open up, share confidential and personal information in a safe and secure environment.


What will I need to do take part?

  • Applicants will need to complete and submit the online application form by Monday 20 March 2023.

  • Applications will be processed by the Thelma Matilda Alves Foundation (TMAF) team. Only 5 applicants will be selected to take part in the scheme.  

  • Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by Friday 14 April 2023.

  • Beneficiaries who are selected to take part will be given the chance to select a counsellor from the TMAF approved list of counsellors.

  • Beneficiaries will be advised by TMAF of how to contact their counsellor to arrange their appointments.

  • Counsellors will be notified of their beneficiary and paid directly by TMAF.

  • Counsellors will offer beneficiaries the choice of face to face or online sessions.

What can I expect if I join the scheme?

Beneficiaries who join the scheme will be expected to commit to:

  1. 15 hours of free counselling over 15 weeks

  2. Selecting a counsellor from a TMAF approved list of counsellors.

  3. Taking part in surveys and discussions.

  4. Advising TMAF staff of any concerns or issues they have relating to the scheme or attendance.

  5. Notifying counsellors if they are unable to attend counselling sessions in line with the Counsellor’s terms and conditions.


What are the benefits for beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries attending the scheme can benefit from:

  • Free counselling from a qualified practitioner

  • Safe space to talk.

  • Gain different perspectives on problems and issues.

  • Gain support.


What are the issues for beneficiaries?

  • Beneficiaries will be expected to commit to 15 hours of counselling over 15 weeks. Counselling requires active participation. Remaining consistent by creating time to attend counselling sessions is essential to gain the benefits of counselling.

  • Beneficiaries will be offered face to face and online or phone counselling sessions. However, taking part in online or phone counselling sessions can be, at times, difficult. As you may encounter distractions or may not feel comfortable or able to disclose personal information with other people around. Beneficiaries are advised to select the most appropriate counselling session for them. Choosing counselling sessions that are scheduled at a convenient time and location, that enables them to be present and engage fully with the process. Beneficiaries who choose online or phone counselling sessions will need a to ensure they have access to a phone and/or the internet, a quiet space, free from distractions and people.

  • Beneficiaries may fear opening up and sharing personal information with a stranger. However, all of TMAF approved counsellors are fully trained and qualified professionals. Counsellors commit to and respect your privacy as well as treat discussions and details of anything disclosed with confidentiality. However, a counsellor may involve emergency services if they deem you to be in danger or at risk of hurting others.


What if I cannot attend a session?

  • Beneficiaries will be provided with details of how to cancel an appointment by their Counsellor.

  • Beneficiaries who are unable to attend their counselling session will need to follow the Counsellor’s cancellation policy.


What happens if I fail to attend or cancel a appointment with my counsellor?

  • If the beneficiary fails to attend or cancel in a timely manner on two consecutive counselling sessions, TMAF reserve the right to withdraw the beneficiary from the counselling sponsorship scheme and charge the beneficiary a penalty of £90.

What if I decide not to take part in the Counselling Sponsorship Scheme?

  • Beneficiaries can withdraw at any stage, without giving a reason. Beneficiaries who would like to withdraw from the scheme will need to contact the TMAF staff and notify them of their decision.


Will I need to speak to my GP before applying?

  • No, there is no need to speak to your GP before taking part in the scheme. You may want to speak with your GP if you're on anti-depressants or would like to take anti-depressants.


What if I'm already receiving mental health support?

  • If you are already receiving any type of 1-2-1 counselling or therapy, please let us know as this scheme is designed to help those with no access to counselling.


Will I be reimbursed for taking part?

  • No, beneficiaries will not receive any financial reward / payment for taking part but offered face-to-face and online counselling sessions with their counsellors.

What happens when the scheme ends?

  • Beneficiaries who need ongoing counselling support will be provided with a list of resources and support services.

  • Beneficiaries will be invited to participate in other TMAF services such as the monthly well-being support group, online resources and volunteer-led sessions or workshops.

  • Beneficiaries will be asked to complete an end-of-scheme evaluation survey and a well-being questionnaire.


Complaints Procedure

  • All complaints should be sent directly to the Thelma Matilda Alves Foundation at

  • Complaints will be kept confidential unless TMAF requires the third-party support in resolving the matter or if there is an immediate danger.

  • Both parties shall strive to resolve any disputes that may arise together informally, with honesty, integrity, mutual respect, and good faith as their guiding principles.


What happens to my data?


Thelma Matilda Alves Foundation is committed to using your personal information in accordance with its purpose. We won’t do anything with your information you wouldn’t reasonably expect. We are required to provide you with the information in this Privacy Notice under applicable law which includes (but is not limited to) The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (the "GDPR"), and the Data Protection Act 2018

This privacy notice applies to the personal information of those individuals who interact with the Thelma Matilda Alves Foundation. Processing of your personal information is carried out by or on behalf of Thelma Matilda Alves Foundation. 


Under GDPR, one has the right to be erased. Therefore, should you wish to request for any data we may hold with regards to you, please contact: 


Please note that data access requests may take up to 28 days.


In the event that your request may be linked to another individual or be excessive, we have the right to refuse or charge an extra cost of £10.  For more information about how we collect, process and protect your information, please visit:

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