THE Victoria Therapy Centre in Saltaire is celebrating one year of boosting people's mental health in the Aire Valley.

The centre, which opened in January 2020 on Victoria Road, provides mental health services to those in and around the Shipley area.

Owners Neil, a qualified psychotherapist, and Helena Dowsland said: “We wanted to create a comfortable and purpose designed setting with a high street presence in order to make a visit to a psychotherapist or counsellor as easy to access as possible and as normal as a trip to the dentist."

The centre is a base for a number of qualified psychotherapists who offer a range of therapies including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye-Movement De-sensitisation and Re-processing (EMDR).

In the past 10 months, it has taken on a new level of importance as covid-19 led to a rise in those seeking help for anxiety.

Helena said: “Not only have the fears surrounding COVID affected anxiety levels but the practical impact has affected our ability to access mental health services.”

During the lockdown periods of 2020, the therapists offered online therapy sessions but has now re-opened with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

Neil added: “The first year has been a real success despite the major setbacks and we are starting 2021 increasing our availability further and the range of therapies we offer enabling us to help more people.”

The Victoria Therapy Centre also held a successful community event, Time To Change, back in February where the centre was opened up to anyone passing for a cuppa and a piece of cake. Strangers had an open chat about mental health, helping to end the stigma around the subject.

Looking back over their first year, the start-up business expressed thanks to Ravinder Panesar and the team at Ad:Venture, an European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) business start-up scheme offered through Bradford Council.

“Rav and the team offered us some useful advice and insight initially on getting things up and running. It was important for us to hear an independent expert’s thoughts,” Helena said.