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1 April 2021

Community First merges with BRASACC to form START, an expanded rape and sexual abuse counselling service for Central and North Hampshire

Communities First Wessex (trading as Community First) and Basingstoke Rape and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre (BRASACC) are pleased to announce their merger from April 1st 2021.

BRASACC will be amalgamated with Community First’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling service (RASAC), creating a new service which will operate across Central and North Hampshire. The expanded service will be relaunched as START (Sexual Trauma and Abuse Restorative Therapy). RASAC already provides services in the North of the county where BRASACC operates. Bringing the two organisations together creates the best chance of long-term sustainability, whilst offering greater service capacity to clients. The merger will have no impact on clients in counselling on April 1st, with counselling continuing as normal, with the same counsellor, until their sessions come to an end. START will continue to deliver counselling from bases closest to clients, currently in Winchester, Andover and Basingstoke, with plans to extend to Hart and Rushmoor in the coming year. START will offer face-to-face counselling services, supplemented by on-line and telephone counselling as options, plus peer support groups.

Trevor Lewis, Vice-Chair of Community First says: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for both RASAC and BRASACC, we look forward to the launch of START, working for the benefit of our service users, staff and volunteers, focusing on reducing waiting times and broadening our service offerings.’

Kathy Wilson, Chair of BRASACC says “Both BRASACC and RASAC have been providing specialist counselling services in a very complex area for many years and we have shared ethical and professional values which make us a good fit. BRASACC joining Community First gives us a better opportunity, through START, to sustain this much needed service for the long-term.”

We would like to thank our funders for their support which sustains these much needed services, including The Ministry of Justice (through the Hampshire OPCC), the Hampshire OPCC, HCC and the NHS, plus our many donors and the activities of the Friends of RASAC, now to become the Friends of START.

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