One2One Listening started in 2016 because people often feel that no-one is listening to them.
In 2013 informal research began into the needs of people in Preston. Individuals were consulted, as well as support agencies, charities, local Christian churches and other faith groups. The research showed that the needs were varied and complex and often affected people’s mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It became clear that many of those spoken to had a deep need to talk, to be heard and to be listened to. In a noisy, busy world this was becoming increasingly rare and people were struggling to find a space to share their story or their concerns.
As a result of the research a development group was set up in 2014 to look at how to encourage and enable listening in a wide variety of contexts. The plan was two fold:
- To provide listening training to as many people as possible. The group worked with Acorn Christian Healing to offer courses which highlighted the importance of listening and also the impact of listening on peoples overall well-being. The courses also taught people active reflective listening skills which could be used in the work place, in the family, in churches, community groups, in volunteering roles, even in doctors surgeries and support agencies.
- To set up a listening service in Preston City Centre. This would provide face to face support for someone to speak to a trained listener about whatever was on their mind. It would be a safe, welcoming and confidential space for people.
The group worked for 2 years, consulting with local Counselling Service Cedar House, mental health providers, business consultants, the Methodist Church and other denominations, as well as continuing to work closely and be supported by Acorn Christian Healing. Many people attended initial training courses, some only attending the first module and using their listening skills in their own contexts, others attending modules 2 and 3 to develop their skills, with some becoming professional volunteer listeners.
In October 2016 One2One listening was opened, with the first listening spaces being offered in a quiet room located in Central Methodist Church, Lune Street. It was called One2One because all listening encounters would be face to face, with one speaker and one listener and would provide much needed personal support and a listening ear. All listeners were fully qualified, DBS checked, and trained to the highest standard of the mirroring method of active, reflective listening through Acorn. A session supervisor was appointed to oversee the listening spaces, and supporters were provided to ensure that the listening would always be safe for both the listener and the speaker.
3 tutors were also trained and appointed by Acorn so that listening courses could be offered on a regular basis.