Issue 8 2023

30 | Acquisition International, Issue 8 2023 Best One-to-One Counselling & CBT Provider 2023 - North West England The UK’s collective mental health took a colossal hit over the COVID-19 pandemic, with understandable increased cases of depression, anxiety, stress, and other signs of ill-health. Starting from humble beginnings with two volunteers, Talk Changes has become a true paragon of its local community. We spoke with Founder and Psychotherapist, Khadija Wadee to find out more following the organisation’s success in the awards programme. Company: Talk Changes Address: Hamill House, 112-116 Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4DH Mobile: 07742238913 Website: Email: Today, Talk Changes celebrates five volunteers, two seasonal workers, two social media leads, and seven professional counsellors – with organic growth being maintained, and success evident across its burgeoning reputation. Ultimately, Talk Changes was created on the back of a need of its local Bolton community, to provide help through its vital services. For Khadija Wadee, the need for the organisation was obvious from the very beginning. “From its incept, it started receiving an influx of referrals from individuals reaching out for support to manage their mental ill health. Talk Changes was set up as a CIO, non-profit organisation. It started with hardly any dedicated volunteers and with just two counsellors on board. “The aim for Talk Changes has always been to empower individuals to reach their potential and take control of their lives. Its mission is to reduce stigma and stereotypical beliefs pertaining to mental illness. As the work of Talk Changes gains momentum and recognition, it was recently awarded the prestigious Bolton Quality Mark. Never before had an organisation received this ward so early in its establishment.” In everything else too, every facet of the organisation, Talk Changes aims for capturing best practices. Its ethos and values are built around inclusion, equality and diversity, with a mindset only too aware of the biases that frequently exist within other mental health services. Khadija continues, “Talk Changes wants to manage such bias and develop strategic plans and training in order to manage and acknowledge different cultures. We aim to expand our services and offer more activities, physical and creative arts both for the youth and adults. To commence CPD mental health training that is culturally sensitive. This would be open to organisations, schools and the local community. “The aim for Talk Changes is to help spread awareness and alleviate mental illness, to educate the BAMER and non-BAMER communities and help bridge the gap that is often between them.” This aim and mission has defined every aspect of Talk Changes and continues to drive and build momentum as it moves forwards. Naturally, as a non-profit, this mission is all important. The passion evident and obvious through every volunteer. Jun23213 “ We at Talk Changes are working tirelessly in our endeavour to help as many people as possible. However, we aim not to cut corners or provide a service which is void of care and professionalism. “ “Talk Changes has created a strong staff and volunteer base that is enthusiastic about the work we do. We believe that our passion and drive for change is a major reason for our highquality service and rapid growth. It is for this reason 50% of our current volunteers are former clients.” Further, in a recent satisfaction survey, the organisation secured a 100% satisfaction rate across all volunteers, which speaks volumes on Talk Changes’ approach and efficacy. Moving forwards, the organisation hopes to capitalise and expand on its impressive and hard-earned reputation in the region through education, research, and further training. For Khadija, Talk Changes has always been about “giving a voice to the voiceless”, and that will never change regardless of what the future holds. In her closing comments, she explains what 2024 and beyond will have in store for this award-winning non-profit: “Through recent personal challenges I have found there are many who do not have a voice predominantly being a South Asian woman. However, we persisted in being the voice for the voiceless, so we can take on one of the world’s largest social challenges and have influence. “We hope to now go into research and training, so we can help support marginalised communities live healthier lives and overcome challenges they may face. Talk Changes has always aspired to create social change and be a means to a better and safer world. We adapt and change the way we work to best suit the needs of today’s society. Talk Changes constantly seek out growth opportunities so we can learn and adapt into new ways of working. We apply creativity and curiosity to all aspects of our organisation.”