Mothertongue multi-ethnic counselling service will be closing in March 2018

We wish to communicate that Mothertongue multi-ethnic counselling service has taken the decision to complete its work in 2018. Over the past 17 years we have supported over 3,000 clients and it is now time for others to develop the work.

Mothertongue multi-ethnic counselling service will cease seeing clients in December 2017. We will not be starting a new course of counselling with any client from September 15th 2017. Any new clients should be referred on to Talking Therapies Berkshire at

In accordance with data protection legislation, we will not be retaining any personal data on anyone who has used our services after we close. Client notes will be retained until February 1st 2018. Should you wish to request copies of your notes before January 31st 2018, please refer to our Data Protection Policy and Confidentiality Policy in the Downloads section and contact our office at 22-24 Cross Street, Reading RG1 1SN.
We are grateful to all those who have supported us with time, work, finances, care and commitment over the years.
Many of our interventions have been small but they have had a big impact on the quality of people's lives.

The learning and the knowledge achieved through the work of Mothertongue will continue to be disseminated by a new NGO called Pasalo CIC

Beverley Costa | CEO and Clinical Director of Mothertongue

What do our volunteers do?

Volunteers work with individual clients as well as groups. The role of the volunteer has changed over the years and today our volunteers help with language support and group facilitation.

Some of the other activities volunteers have been involved in:

  • Volunteers have assisted with the Art Project at Reading Girls' School providing language support to newly arrived girls, and the teacher, involved. This project has been extended to other schools in Reading such as Blessed Hugh Farringdon, Prospect, Alfred Sutton Primary, St Mary's Primary, George Palmer Primary, Katesgrove Primary and Battle Primary Schools.
  • A Mothertongue volunteer has facilitated the training of Young Interpreters at Readings Girls' School, Oxford Road Community School, Katesgrove, Battle and George Palmer Primary School. At each school a group of pupils have been given basic interpreter training so they can help newly arrived students who do not have sufficient English language and also help parents of these pupils at school open days.
  • As a result of the Confidence Building Training given to volunteers, two of our volunteers have run 3 Confidence Building Groups for clients and these have been very successful. They also delivered a workshop in Maidenhead for a women's group.
  • Volunteers provide language support for client appointments with the Citizen's Advice Bureau. The CAB come to Mothertongue for a session on a Monday for clients who require language support with their queries. This has proved to be a very successful and productive initiative.Mothertongue volunteers have also been involved in a new project called The Language Bank. This is a project to utilise the different language skills of staff and teachers who work in Reading schools so they can assist with language support for parents in parent-teacher interviews and open days. Mothertongue has contributed to the training of individual staff members as well as volunteers providing the language support for appointments in schools.
  • A Mothertongue volunteer assists with the ESOL classes that are run on a Thursday for basic and advanced levels. This volunteer has contributed to these classes for the past 3 years.
  • Volunteers remain an integral part of the organisation and attend as many of our calendar functions as possible to lend their support The Queen's Award for Voluntary Action, awarded to Mothertongue in 2009, is a tribute to the work that the Mothertongue volunteers past and present have contributed to the organisation over the years

Volunteering success stories

We gather information and feedback from our clients and they had the following to say about Mothertongue volunteers:

  • "The person also helped me with my English as I couldn't speak very Mothertongue there was always someone to listen to you."
  • "Thanks to the work and dedication of the volunteer worker and the language support I was able to receive help and get out of problems."
  • One Polish client said that because of Mothertongue's help he was able to change his life around
  • Another Polish client said that because of the language support she received from a volunteer it alleviated her anxiety as it was important for her to remain calm as she was pregnant at the time.
  • The language support offered through the Citizen's Advice Bureau appointments meant that one Indian client was able to sort out her debt problems effectively
    One of the girls at Reading Girls' School involved with the Art Project said of the volunteer: 'She is really nice to me, speaks to me in my language so I dont feel scared.'
  • Another of the girls in the Art Project said that the volunteers had helped her in speaking English and now she felt good that she could talk to the other girls in her class
  • A Portuguese client thanked Mothertongue for all their services and the volunteer who had helped her with language support in order to help her with complicated finanical issues

Interested in volunteering with us?

We ask all our volunteers to complete our three-day training course, during which you will learn how to:

  • Help people from diverse cultural backgrounds access mainstream services such as education, training and medical services
  • Learn about professional guidelines and behaviour when supporting clients in a Health and Social Care capacity
  • Learn how to support group facilitators and learn how to run groups
  • Communicate effectively in English and other languages you may speak
  • Put into practice equal opportunity policies
  • Support people who are feeling vulnerable

Once you have completed your training we ask for two references and your permission to conduct a criminal records check.

If you would like to find out more details about the volunteering opportunities and information about our next training course, please contact us at