The inaugural chair of Ora Charitable Trust, Les Simmonds, has stepped down after three valuable years of contribution to the charitable trust and the Bay of Plenty community.
With his extensive background in counselling, therapy, family therapy, management and community work, Les has contributed significantly to the work of the Trust.
Les carries a deep commitment to ensuring women within Tauranga Moana and the wider Bay of Plenty have free access to therapeutic services which enhance and support their health and wellbeing and in turn, generate a positive ripple effect on their children, their relationships, their whanau/family and their entire community.
"Les Simmonds’ professional experience in therapy and counselling has spanned over 30 years. He has worked in a diverse range of community settings, including general counselling services for individuals, couples and families, alcohol and drug counselling, sexual abuse counselling and men experiencing anxiety and depression," says a statement released by the trust.
He is highly qualified within his areas of expertise, holding a Bachelor of Social Science and Post- Graduate qualifications in Cognitive-Behavioural and Couple and Family Therapy, as well as Certificates in group-work, community-work and supervision.
He also holds a Diploma in Business Management. Drawing from this wealth of experience Les, along with other Trust members, supported the development and formation of Ora Charitable Trust.
"The Ora Charitable Trust ‘Recuperative Retreats for Women’ is a free service provided by ‘Life A Plenty’ within Tauranga Moana and the wider Bay of Plenty, for women who have been recommended a period of rest and recuperation by a health professional."
The idea of a free therapeutic retreat was raised by a previous colleague Linda Parnell, and readily endorsed by Lyndsay Cumberpatch, CEO of Bryant Trust, which is an established women’s retreat in the Hamilton/Raglan area.
"After substantial consultation and planning, the therapeutic partners ‘Life A Plenty’ developed a service offering free retreats for women through the Ora Trust, which has gone on to be immeasurably successful," says the trust.
"These retreats enable women to take a break from their ordinary lives, and provide a safe and supportive environment for them to focus on their well-being. All participants have access to individual and collective support from qualified facilitators and therapists throughout the retreat.
The retreats include daily life-skills workshops to learn simple relaxation exercises, how to cope with anxiety, stress management techniques and problemsolving strategies to effectively manage life challenges.
"The retreats aim to build confidence and enable women to return to their whanau/family, with relevant skills to make positive changes in their lives."
Chris Coughlan has been invited to take over the role of Chairperson. She is passionate about providing support to women living within the Bay of Plenty, who are experiencing significant difficulty in their lives.
Chris has worked for many years for incorporated societies, and is experienced in the unique management and governance challenges which many of these present.