A Milnsbridge-based counselling service is celebrating 25 years of helping people.
The United Churches Healing Ministry (UCHM) was co-founded in 1992 by Helga Taylor.
It also offers paid-for counselling training courses and has a sports hall and meeting rooms to hire out.
Helga Taylor, who is the managing director and an accredited counsellor, is proud of the progress.
She said: “To me, it’s just amazing.
“We have new counsellors as well as counsellors with lots and lots of experience.
“People feel safe here.
“In the early days, people that came for help often went on from that to become counsellors themselves and some of them are still here now. It’s just a very special place.
“I would like to think that people have gotten the help they need in their life here.”
Helga, who moved from Austria to Golcar aged four, originally worked as a pharmacy technician.
She received counselling herself in the post-war period and it was this experience that inspired her to change careers to be a counsellor.
She began by setting it up in a small room in St James’ Parish Church in Slaithwaite. The UCHM later moved to The Elms, a prominent building in New Street in Milnsbridge.
But despite its growth, demand is still as high as ever.
Some patients receive referrals from their GPs as the service is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
But most patients find themselves self-referring after hearing about the service through word of mouth in the local community.
And although it is inter-denominational and one of the country’s leading centres of Christian counselling, patients do not have to be and are not encouraged to become religious if they do not want to be.
Helga, who is also a deacon at Scapegoat Hill Baptist Church, said: “We now have 35 counsellors and a waiting list of five months.
“There’s a massive demand. People really do need to be listened to and supported.
“Anyone can just come in and self-refer to counselling. We’ll make an appointment for an initial assessment and we can match them to a counsellor best suited to their needs.
“For example, we have counsellors who will work psychodynamically and on childhood issues or ones who will work in the here and now on one specific issue.
“It’s taken a long time to build up the service, but it works well now.
“But if we feel the patient needs more help and might need medication, for example if they have a mental illness or are severely disturbed, we’ll ask them to go to their GP first, who often refers them back to us anyway.”
The UCHM is a registered charity, which is funded by a charity shop in the village, and patients are asked for a donation to cover the costs of their counselling sessions.
“Twenty-nine of the 40 GP practices in the Huddersfield area regularly refer patients to UCHM,” Helga continued.
“We work with people for as long as they need. We have worked with people for two years before. That’s what makes it different from the NHS.
“When people are really distressed, they need help and money is not the first priority.”
UCHM can be contacted on 01484 461098 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.