PEOPLE from teenagers to pensioners have been taking advantage of a free counselling service running out of The Salvation Army headquarters in Cradley Heath.

Listening Ear Counselling Service, based in Meredith Street, has three qualified counsellors who offer a confidential service.

They are appealing for anyone who thinks they might be able to benefit from the chance to talk things over to get in touch.

Since its inception in 2009 the service has helped scores of people of all ages.

Problems encountered include relationship problems, stress and worry or difficult experiences including bereavement.

Lead counsellor Lesley Nicholson said: “Not a lot of people know we are here.

“A lot of people are put off counselling because they don’t really know what it entails or because they think it’s going to be very expensive or because they think there might be a long wait.

“With us it is free - we try and call people back within a week and see them for an appointment within two weeks.”

Lesley said if people aren’t sure whether they need counselling they can attend an initial session to talk it through.

She said: “We have seen people from teenagers through to people approaching their nineties, and of all backgrounds.

“People often come in thinking everything is all too much.

“Sometimes it just helps to be able to talk things out, to help make sense of things and move forward.

“We are ready and waiting - our only motivation is to help.”

The service is not Christian, but runs out of the Salvation Army which helps it run the service for free by providing the venue and office support.

Anyone interested can call The Salvation Army office on 01384 563570.