Introducing… Now You’re Talking

We’re launching a new commercial counselling subsidiary. Now You’re Talking will start taking on clients this month.

Michelle Hill

We’re launching a new commercial counselling subsidiary. Now You’re Talking will start taking on clients this month.

We’ve just moved into spring and begun a new financial year, so this is the perfect opportunity to introduce Now You’re Talking and its profit-for-purpose focus by starting with the journey it took to get here.

At the end of 2022, we started to review the social and financial performance of our TLC departments. We realised that though the social impact of our counselling services was significant, financially, we were increasingly struggling to finish each year in the black.  

We took an options appraisal to our Board of Trustees to try and balance social commitments and finances. The option we most wanted to pursue was the establishment of a traded subsidiary designed to deliver profit-with-purpose.  

The subsidiary would offer people a range of counselling and therapies, delivered at a location and by a therapist of their choice. We hoped we could attract clients able to pay for therapy and motivated by social purpose, as well as employers looking to purchase support for employees while contributing towards their own ambitions for corporate and social responsibility. 

The profit would create an unrestricted income stream for TLC, helping to retain the financial sustainability of the charity and enabling us to extend support across the country. 

Our first paper went to the Board in January 2023, and after ten months of debate, challenge and questioning, a revised appraisal went back to them in October. The Board unanimously gave their support, which kicked off a six-month period of intense work. 

We are now, proudly, just weeks away from the launch of Now You’re Talking.

Now You’re Talking is our new commercial counselling subsidiary designed to deliver profit-with purpose. It’s the right move to keep our TLC services financially viable and I am incredibly excited about what’s to come.

I want to take this opportunity to express thanks to everyone who helped us get to this point. 

Thank you to our TLC Board of Trustees for your support, encouragement, and constructive challenge. Thank you also to our new Now You’re Talking Board of Directors. I’ve been blown away by your knowledge and consideration. 

Thank you to Mark Johnson at Elderflower Legal for holding my hand throughout the process of setting up the new organisation and thank you to Margaret Brade at Age UK Stockport for recommending Mark in the first place. 

After establishing a legal structure and governance plan, we needed funding to really get going. Thank you to the fantastic team at GMCVO (Greater Manchester Council of Voluntary Organisations) for helping us secure our first social investment via the Enterprising Communities Fund, with funding coming from Manchester Credit Union. Thank you, Gary Millar and Matt Dickinson, for guiding us through the process, and thank you to our Head of Finance, Katy Ford, for navigating the whole thing brilliantly. 

Next, we needed a name and a brand, and I have to thank our fantastic marketing and communications team for that. Thank you to Alison Palmer, our Head of Marketing and Communications, Ryan Drillsma, our Communications Lead, and Lucy Sandilands, our Creative Design Lead, who worked with the If Agency, Down at the Social, and the Drawing Room to establish our identity and online presence.  

We appointed an internal project team, seconded from within TLC, to lead the setup of Now You’re Talking. Thank you Project Manager Julie Bailey and Project Officers Hannah Naeem and Bonnie Webster for your amazing work keeping us on time and on budget. You’ve nudged and cajoled us just the right amount to bring Now You’re Talking into a reality. 

We’ve chosen to establish Now You’re Talking as a company limited by shares with a social mission lock. I’m confident in this decision thanks to the support and guidance of all those I’ve listed here (and those I haven’t!). 

I’d additionally like to thank key colleagues across TLC who have supported the project team: 

  • Marian Mallery, our Director of Business Services, for leading us through HR discussions alongside our Human Resources Business Administrator Aysha Gibbons; 
  • Christopher Cowen, our Director of Operations, for supporting with system integration and information governance, as well as Senior Data Analyst Eva Currell and Operations Project Officer Jamie Carew for helping with the mobilisation of systems and processes; 
  • Director of Services Anna Callaghan, Head of Counselling Emma Jones-Holding, Lead Supervisor Polly Sangar, and Counselling Service Manager Helen Farrow for guiding us on safeguarding, accreditations and so much more; 
  • Administration Project Manager Vicky Durkan for leading us through discussions about administrative resourcing and being a key support to the Now You’re Talking Board; 
  • Emily Williams, our Director of Development, for working through growth opportunities alongside Development Managers Emma Murphy and Catherine Elliot, who have supported with competitor and market analysis. 

We appointed a Managing Director for Now You’re Talking in December. Helen Stuart, who previously led our Domestic Abuse Services for Children and Young People will rejoin us in October following maternity leave.  

There are so many more people to thank for their contributions and I am conscious that I have listed very few of them here. The famous African proverb states that “it takes a village to raise a child”, and I now know that it also takes a village to launch a company, so many thanks to everyone for your help. 

I’m now in a place where I feel full of ambition for Now You’re Talking. We’ll continue to publish news on our brand-new subsidiary, its profit-for-purpose focus, and the high-quality, professional counselling and therapy services we will deliver through this new channel.

Stay tuned for more updates.


Michelle Hill

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