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Richard Branson Founded Counselling Centre Celebrates One Year Anniversary as a Registered Charity

A counselling service originally set up by Richard Branson in West London, is celebrating its first year anniversary as a registered charity this week.

A counselling service originally set up by Richard Branson in West London, is celebrating its first year anniversary as a registered charity this week.

HELP Counselling Centre, based on Portobello Road, was originally founded by the business magnate as a student support service in 1968. It has since gone on to become an invaluable mental health charity.

Serving the community for over forty years, HELP provides low cost, holistic counselling, that endeavours to aid people to approach their problems from a new perspective; and ultimately restore balance to their lives.

The counselling service is independently run and costs £150,000 a year to maintain. The charity relies heavily on private donations, legacies, statutory funding and charitable foundations in order to survive; and that money goes directly towards subsidising the cost of their client sessions.

Mary Ziemer, HELP Service Director said: "It is a quite an achievement, a real milestone. It represents the efforts of many individuals showing their dedication to the service. It has also been a community effort, working together to make the centre a success."

The charity is celebrating its one year landmark this Friday by hosting a fundraising event at St Peter's Church in Notting Hill.

Local artists including Luke Martineau, Bernie Joy and Alex Fowler have donated artwork to a charity auction, while local businesses have also contributed toward the evening.

Many nearby restaurants including Notting Hill Brasserie, Café Anglais, Electric Brasserie and Ledbury are generously supplying food and drink for the occasion.

Ms Ziemer added: "This event is really pivotal for us. We are independently funded so raising money for the centre is a real struggle. We are hoping this will raise our public profile.

"We are extremely grateful to the public for all the support that we have received, I think it really indicates the community outreach that we have."

For more information see: www.helpcounselling.com