Pregnancy crisis centre officially opens

Centre manager, Gill Woods, (left) with Evesham Mayor Mark Goodge and Mid Worcestershire MP, Sir Peter Luff cutting the ribbon of the new pregnancy centre, Archways, in Evesham.

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First published in News

PEOPLE who find themselves in difficulty with an unplanned pregnancy can get help and support from a new crisis centre in Evesham.

Archways was officially opened today (Thursday) by Evesham Mayor Mark Goodge and Mid-Worcestershire MP, Sir Peter Luff, who cut the ribbon in front of a large group of volunteers and supporters of the charity.

Located on the first floor of the Library arcade in the High Street, the centre has a team of 12 trained councillors from churches around the Vale who offer women and their partners free help and support for any current or previous pregnancies causing them emotional distress.

The centre also provides a listening ear for anyone experiencing distress after an abortion or miscarriage.

Founded by John and Linda Smith, of Bretforton, the couple have been running a similar centre Stillwaters, in Kings Heath, Birmingham, for the last 20 years.

Speaking at the opening, Mr Smith said: "It's been quite a journey that we got to this place. Probably 11 years ago when we came to Evesham we realised there wasn't a pregnancy crisis centre in the area.

"We are here to care for people who are suffering to try and help the people who have got needs and try and encourage decision making."

Sir Peter Luff, Mid Worcestershire MP said the centre's work was extremely important.

"It's not the amount that come through the door but the quality of advice you offer," he said. "I welcome people to come here and use this critical service in the town."

Evesham Mayor Mark Goodge said: "I'm really pleased to see its finally open. I am sure it's going to be a place of real benefit to the town and the area. It's to the great credit to the town that people have come together to do this."

Centre manager Gill Woods added: "This is where the work really starts. This is where we get our clients and this is where we start putting our counselling skills into practice."

The centre is funded in many ways including a £5,000 grant from Wychavon and a Solihull church which is paying the first year's rent.

But supporters can still make donations, set up standing orders or collect baby bottles from the centre's reception to fill with loose change to keep it going in the future.

The centre is open for drop-in sessions from 10am and 3pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and other times by appointment. For details call 01386 247249.

Comments (7)

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2:44pm Wed 23 Apr 14

lisaamartin1 says...

While I have no doubt that a pregnancy advice service would be welcomed in Evesham, I am deeply concerned about the motives behind this particular centre. Women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy need support and advice to help them make up their own minds about what is the best and right thing to do for them and the unborn child - and yes, many will undoubtedly be seeking advice on pregnancy termination. Anyone who seeks counselling, for whatever reason, should be entitled to impartial advice, accurate information, and an unbiased, non-judgemental counsellor - how can this centre offer those things when it is run by people with a fundamentally anti-abortion agenda? The Evesham pregnancy crisis centre is operated by the same Christian organisation that runs Stillwaters CPC in Birmingham; a centre highlighted in a recent report by the charity Education for Choice as providing false information about abortion and having a religiously biased slant to their "advice". "Mystery shoppers" to the Birmingham centre were told that their child was "a gift from God" and they would feel "guilty" if they aborted. Worse, they were warned of "post-abortion trauma" - a fictional condition that is unrecognised by the medical community. I would certainly not recommend a Christian-led organisation, which is by its very nature anti-abortion, to any woman in need of truly impartial advice. andhttp://www.brook.
org.uk/images/brook/
professionals/docume
nts/page_content/EFC
/CPCreport/crisis_pr
eg_centres_rept_10.2
.14-2hiFINAL.pdf
While I have no doubt that a pregnancy advice service would be welcomed in Evesham, I am deeply concerned about the motives behind this particular centre. Women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy need support and advice to help them make up their own minds about what is the best and right thing to do for them and the unborn child - and yes, many will undoubtedly be seeking advice on pregnancy termination. Anyone who seeks counselling, for whatever reason, should be entitled to impartial advice, accurate information, and an unbiased, non-judgemental counsellor - how can this centre offer those things when it is run by people with a fundamentally anti-abortion agenda? The Evesham pregnancy crisis centre is operated by the same Christian organisation that runs Stillwaters CPC in Birmingham; a centre highlighted in a recent report by the charity Education for Choice as providing false information about abortion and having a religiously biased slant to their "advice". "Mystery shoppers" to the Birmingham centre were told that their child was "a gift from God" and they would feel "guilty" if they aborted. Worse, they were warned of "post-abortion trauma" - a fictional condition that is unrecognised by the medical community. I would certainly not recommend a Christian-led organisation, which is by its very nature anti-abortion, to any woman in need of truly impartial advice. andhttp://www.brook. org.uk/images/brook/ professionals/docume nts/page_content/EFC /CPCreport/crisis_pr eg_centres_rept_10.2 .14-2hiFINAL.pdf lisaamartin1
  • Score: -8

11:34am Thu 1 May 14

archways says...

I am responding to Lisa's comments about our new centre. I am the manager of the centre and can assure everybody that we will be providing impartial advice and accurate information allowing our clients to make a decision for themselves. I admit that our counsellors are Christians but we respect the right of the individual to make a decision which is right for them in their personal circumstances. I must make it clear that we are not run by the same organisation that runs Stillwaters in Birmingham - we are completely independent.
I am responding to Lisa's comments about our new centre. I am the manager of the centre and can assure everybody that we will be providing impartial advice and accurate information allowing our clients to make a decision for themselves. I admit that our counsellors are Christians but we respect the right of the individual to make a decision which is right for them in their personal circumstances. I must make it clear that we are not run by the same organisation that runs Stillwaters in Birmingham - we are completely independent. archways
  • Score: 3

12:41pm Thu 1 May 14

lisaamartin1 says...

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment and I am encouraged by your assertion that your counsellors will provide accurate information and impartial advice. If this is the case then you will hopefully do very well when you are next mystery shopped by Brook/EfC. Personally however, I doubt the ability of a Christian - even the most well-meaning and loving Christian - to give impartial advice on something to which they are fundamentally opposed. Nowhere on Archways' website does it mention that you are a Christian-run organisation, and yet 'The Journey', the post-abortion recovery programme you offer, is a fundamentally Christian programme. Furthermore, it's subtle, but you have an image on your website (on the page talking about help for post-abortion) of a hand writing "Yes" and "No" - the word "no" is highlighted in red. Is this a subliminal message to encourage women to say "no" to abortion? I can't see what else this picture could possibly mean. Finally, you say that Stillwaters and Archways are completely independent, and yet this article reveals that Archways was "founded by John and Linda Smith, of Bretforton, the couple have been running a similar centre Stillwaters, in Kings Heath, Birmingham, for the last 20 years." OK maybe John and Linda have moved on and the two centres may technically be 'independent', but one can only presume that Archways is run on the same principles as Stillwaters and that the "care" a young person will receive from Archways will not be fundamentally different from that at Stillwaters.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment and I am encouraged by your assertion that your counsellors will provide accurate information and impartial advice. If this is the case then you will hopefully do very well when you are next mystery shopped by Brook/EfC. Personally however, I doubt the ability of a Christian - even the most well-meaning and loving Christian - to give impartial advice on something to which they are fundamentally opposed. Nowhere on Archways' website does it mention that you are a Christian-run organisation, and yet 'The Journey', the post-abortion recovery programme you offer, is a fundamentally Christian programme. Furthermore, it's subtle, but you have an image on your website (on the page talking about help for post-abortion) of a hand writing "Yes" and "No" - the word "no" is highlighted in red. Is this a subliminal message to encourage women to say "no" to abortion? I can't see what else this picture could possibly mean. Finally, you say that Stillwaters and Archways are completely independent, and yet this article reveals that Archways was "founded by John and Linda Smith, of Bretforton, the couple [who] have been running a similar centre Stillwaters, in Kings Heath, Birmingham, for the last 20 years." OK maybe John and Linda have moved on and the two centres may technically be 'independent', but one can only presume that Archways is run on the same principles as Stillwaters and that the "care" a young person will receive from Archways will not be fundamentally different from that at Stillwaters. lisaamartin1
  • Score: -3

2:13pm Wed 7 May 14

TheSteveG says...

So, lisaamartin1 you don't trust Christians to give impartial advice? That's a rather bigoted remark, if I may say so.
So, lisaamartin1 you don't trust Christians to give impartial advice? That's a rather bigoted remark, if I may say so. TheSteveG
  • Score: 3

2:36pm Wed 7 May 14

lisaamartin1 says...

TheSteveG wrote:
So, lisaamartin1 you don't trust Christians to give impartial advice? That's a rather bigoted remark, if I may say so.
You may say so, it's your right to do so, but I don't think I am being bigoted. It's not a matter of trust - all the Christians I know are wonderful, loving people whose hearts are in the right place and would do anything for anyone. It's not that I have anything against Christians - I don't. Personally, I just think it would be very difficult - not impossible of course, but very difficult - for a Christian to truly give impartial advice on a medical procedure that they are so fundamentally against. And my personal opinion is not just based on a whim - if you read the Education for Choice report I linked to above, you'll see that a worrying number of pregnancy advice centres - all run by Christians or Christian organisations - were found to give inaccurate information about the abortion procedure or post-abortion care, and/or used unprofessional counselling methods at odds with official BACP guidelines, and/or distributed or promoted anti-abortion literature published by Christian groups.
[quote][p][bold]TheSteveG[/bold] wrote: So, lisaamartin1 you don't trust Christians to give impartial advice? That's a rather bigoted remark, if I may say so.[/p][/quote]You may say so, it's your right to do so, but I don't think I am being bigoted. It's not a matter of trust - all the Christians I know are wonderful, loving people whose hearts are in the right place and would do anything for anyone. It's not that I have anything against Christians - I don't. Personally, I just think it would be very difficult - not impossible of course, but very difficult - for a Christian to truly give impartial advice on a medical procedure that they are so fundamentally against. And my personal opinion is not just based on a whim - if you read the Education for Choice report I linked to above, you'll see that a worrying number of pregnancy advice centres - all run by Christians or Christian organisations - were found to give inaccurate information about the abortion procedure or post-abortion care, and/or used unprofessional counselling methods at odds with official BACP guidelines, and/or distributed or promoted anti-abortion literature published by Christian groups. lisaamartin1
  • Score: -2

2:57pm Wed 7 May 14

TheSteveG says...

Christians are opposed to poverty as well. Does that mean you don't trust them to run food banks?
Christians are opposed to poverty as well. Does that mean you don't trust them to run food banks? TheSteveG
  • Score: 2

4:55pm Thu 8 May 14

lisaamartin1 says...

Er, what?? That's a ridiculous thing to say and completely incomparable. Collecting and distributing food to those people in the community who need it is a kind and generous thing to do whether you are a Christian or not. No-one is pro-poverty, are they?! As I said before, it is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of assessing whether a person's personal beliefs and attributes are a good fit for the job at hand - and I would argue that a person who absolutely believes that abortion is wrong is not necessarily the best person to be advising young people on unplanned pregnancy issues. Whether it was done deliberately or not, the EfC report found that a significant number of Christian-led pregnancy advice centres gave misinformation and used unethical/unprofessi
onal counselling techniques.
Er, what?? That's a ridiculous thing to say and completely incomparable. Collecting and distributing food to those people in the community who need it is a kind and generous thing to do whether you are a Christian or not. No-one is pro-poverty, are they?! As I said before, it is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of assessing whether a person's personal beliefs and attributes are a good fit for the job at hand - and I would argue that a person who absolutely believes that abortion is wrong is not necessarily the best person to be advising young people on unplanned pregnancy issues. Whether it was done deliberately or not, the EfC report found that a significant number of Christian-led pregnancy advice centres gave misinformation and used unethical/unprofessi onal counselling techniques. lisaamartin1
  • Score: -1

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