New service helps troubled couples

COUPLES experiencing relationship difficulties will be able to get help from specialist counsellors.

From this month Hastings and Rother Counselling Service (H&RCS), based in Cambridge Gardens, is holding sessions for those in strained relationships.

This part of 1066 Country has high levels of divorce and domestic violence and the service has been set up to help combat this.

Hastings had the second highest divorce rate, after Blackpool in Lancashire, in the country in 2002. 

Between April 2009 and April 2010, police received 1,988 reports of domestic violence in Hastings, an average of 5.4 a day.

The UK also has the highest divorce rate in the EU. Compared to the 1950s there are now 25 per cent fewer marriages but five times as many divorces every year.

Alison Rickard, assistant manager, said: “From February onwards we will be able to provide up to six sessions for couples seeking relationship counselling.

“This service, which is also inclusive to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, will be available and couples can ring and book an appointment with a counsellor.

“In recent years there has been no NHS or low cost counselling provision for couples experiencing relationship difficulties in this part of 1066 Country. 

“But now, with the help of a small grant from the Hastings Foreshore Trust, counselling is going to be available for couples in the Hastings area.”

Dave Burke, manager, said: “Hastings has a reputation as one of Britain’s seaside divorce capitals, and this, together with high rates of teenage pregnancy and the strain put on relationships because of economic worries, makes it a priority to support couples. 

“This pioneering venture is very exciting.”