Counselling in the Community founder earns Downing Street recognition

Stuart Hutton-Brown has won 10 Downing Street's Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.

The award was first established in the United States by President George HW Bush in 1990 and was brought to the UK in partnership with the US programme in April 2014. The prime minister honours one inspirational volunteer each day of the week.

Stuart Hutton-Brown, from Blackpool, founded Counselling in the Community, a donation-based service making counselling more accessible to adults, children and young people in the city.

Approximately one in six adults in Blackpool suffer from depression, but through Stuart’s service, over 130 people are now able to receive counselling every week, paying a small donation – dependent on personal circumstances – to keep the initiative running.

Since 2017, the social enterprise has worked with more 930 adults and provided more than 6,000 hours of counselling in 2021, with appointments often available on a three-week waiting list.

With his current hub currently at capacity, Stuart is fundraising to establish a second centre in Blackpool, which would also serve as a wider community hub.

Stuart said: “It is an absolute honour to be nominated for this award. I am so privileged to work with 40 amazing volunteers at Counselling in the Community. We see on average 130 people a week, offering over 6,000 counselling hours last year alone. Covid has added a whole new level to mental health, I am just so relieved our service is able to help so many people.”