Charis foundation is a non-profit making registered charitable Company Limited by Guarantee. As an inter-denominational Christian agency we work with three distinct projects:
- Free professional counselling service to anyone in need, regardless of social status, age, race, religious or philosophical belief etc.
- All levels of training for those involved in counselling and the caring professions.
- Retreats for individuals or small groups and one-to-one spiritual direction/faith accompaniment.
It is our hope that every team member, client and visitor, will experience acceptance, respect and valuing as a unique individual in a non-judgemental, loving and maturing relationship.
We aspire to design and deliver training courses within a creative learning environment which will promote safe, ethical practice for counsellors and for those involved in the caring professions.
We will always seek, according to the individual’s needs, to express explicitly or implicitly the love, grace and mercy of Christ.
The vision to provide a free counselling, and training and retreat service for the community of Fife and beyond was fulfilled in the realisation of the charitable trust established in 1991. From the very beginning we have experienced many lovely expressions of prayerful and practical support which has helped to establish and develop the work of Charis over the years.
A significant part of unfolding of the vision was the purchase of a derelict property at 232 High Street, Leslie, on 1 May 1993. With no money in the bank and a clause in our trust document stating that we would never borrow money, we took a step of faith (as did our solicitor!) in submitting an offer of £5,000. Within 15 minutes of submitting the offer we received confirmation it had been accepted. Imagine our surprise when we later discovered that this offer was 20% of the previous purchase price when the building sold 6 months earlier. The architect, surveyor and many others gifted their time and skills throughout the renovation, with many local suppliers gifting materials. These gifts helped to create a beautiful built space, winning the Royal Institute of British Architect’s Award for Community Section in Scotland (1999).
Generosity of giving has always been at the heart of the work, continuing today with administration, training, and retreat and counselling team members combining excellence and sacrifice that seeks to reflect the heart of God. In March 2007 we moved from Charitable Trust status to become a Company Limited by Guarantee. Thus Fife Christian Counselling Centre became Charis foundation, with three distinct aspects to the work: Charis counselling, Charis training and Charis retreat.
As a faith work, dependent on the Lord’s provision we live by Hudson Taylor’s maxim:
Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award
On 12 May 2003 Charis foundation (formerly Fife Christian Counselling Centre) received a letter from the office of Her Majesty the Queen to say that we had won the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award 2003 for services to the community.
The Queen’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of Fife, said of the service…
Mrs Margaret Dean, Lord Lieutenant of Fife
Early in 1993 we commissioned architect James Bryson to design a building that would communicate our Christian, and counselling, values of safety, respect, hope, peace and a sense of belonging for the end user. James based his design on the answer to two questions he asked: ‘where will your clients come from’ and ‘what kind of problems will you be working with’. He said… ‘I want to use my expertise and experience in working with people to make buildings which serve their functional, spiritual and emotional needs. I want to work with people who want beautiful and sustainable environments.’
In May 1999 it was a great surprise to receive a letter from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland to let us know we had been short listed for one of the Royal Institute of British Architect’s Awards for Architecture. After several visits from judges and a lay assessor we were thrilled to receive a letter from the RIBA Awards Office in London to say we were to receive a RIBA Award for Architecture.
The RIBA Awards judges said of the building:
Chairman of the RIBA judges quoted in ‘Scotland on Sunday’ in November 1999…